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f0tkiucmgihe tnify dean look 
^ dean ^xwen man 



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►'insurgency 17 

QANQINQUP 

Have NSCN supremo Muivah and 
the Khalistani l^der in exile, 

Jagjit Singh Chauhan, joined hands 
to form an anti-India front in 
London? Are the Naga and the 
Pur^b extremists preparing for a 
confoined all-out offensive? A 
report. 


HAPPENING 21 

tlNDHININMAMD 

OTHERTALCSFliOM 

KARACNI 

A report on the Benaafr 
Bfautto-Asif Zardari wikUing. 


SUNDAY SPECIAL 49 


Page 21 


lUghubir Singh photographs the 
Ifoadline-gFaibbers of 19S7. 


COMMENT 
Opinion 4 
Byline M.J.Akbar 6 

Gossip Sweet and Sour Khushwant Singh 9 
Sight and Sound 11 
Guest Column Dhireii Bhagat 37 
Business Diary 63 


OTHER DEPARTMENTS 

Deccan Diary 99 
Delhi Diary 102 


Cover artwork: Sandip Bhattacharya 


■ MnM OTtf pubWwd tar Aranda auw PaMia Ud by Mill Kumw Bmu and idM 
by Araak SdrtiM tarn 6 A • P^afulb Sariiar abMt CalouNa 700 001 
Mr awcbarodfor Noitaeaaiam taaiaa 30 pdiaa Srinagar aii4MN and Tripura 
SOpam 


PERSONALITY 75 

AWRITEirsnilAIS 

For R.K. Narayan, die road to 
success was not an easy one. A 
profile and an interview of the 
fomous novelisL 


BOOK EXTRACT 88 

DID JESUS LIVE IN 
INDIA? 

Did Jesus Christ come to India to 
study Buddhism? Did he live and 
die in Kashmir? German 
theologian Holger Kersten 
provides an interesting kiaight in 
this extract from his book, Jesus 
Hved in India. 

Khans Beat 94 

Smalt Screen 95 
SundayweekB? 

Odds and Trends 93 . 
Peanuta/Crosswerd 97 
Spotlight 100 















f . ■> ■; 



tfICLUREOF 

lioLo 

"pie cover story (Tbe new 
I gMrusb, 13— 19 De- 
cento) was timely. There- 
oent abnonnal increase in the 
piioe of the yeOow metal has 
adversely affected the middle 
daas; they caimol do without 
goM when someone in their 
fittnily gets married. Com- 
mon people treat the metal 
asa"aaviour* in distress”. It 
can be converted into cash at 
aiqr moment. This accounts 
te the erase for gold among 
most Indians. 

The jewellery industry will 
suffer a setback if the price of 
gold does not fsD. The gov- 
ernment should abolish the 
Gold Control Act Insteadi it 
should turn its attention to 
the tons of gold ornaments 
that lie in several temples. 
These should be considered 
to be a part of the countiy*s 
gold reserve, atatimewhen 
the Indian rupee is worth ten 


■Your rep^ on the gold 
rush was highly informative. 







There is no doubt that the 
gold price has risen dramati- 
cally over the last few 
months in the domestic mar- 
ket This wifl only lead to an 
increase in smuffijling vriiidi 
in turn will affect the eco- 
nomy adversely. The gov- 
ernment should allow Indians 
returning from abroad to 
bring bade at least 50 gram- 
mes of geld. Also, the Cen- 
tre should regularty import 
gold from countries like Rus- 
sia and sell them to buyers at 
control prices. At the same 
time, if a gold trading cor- 
poration is set up it 
decrease the price of gold in 
the long run. Unless the 
government does something 
iist, we will only make things 
easy for the underworld. 



OPEN TO AU 


T he.membership of the 
Fertiliser Association of 
India is not restricted to 
private manufacturers alone 
as mentioned in Delhi diary 
(&— 12 December). It is also 
open to the public and joint 
sector units as well as 
oo-operatives. Secondly, 
your claim that our 
association ”came out with a 
statement alleging tljat there 
were ulterior motives behind 
the massive imports of 
fertilisers this year” is 
baseless. What we had 
highlighted was the adverse 
impact of massive imports 
during 19^-85, 1985-86 and 
the first half of 1986-87. 
Thirdly, the transactions 
mentioned in the latter part 
of the item were not at all 
discussed in our presentation 
and are baseless because 
fertilisers are not imported in 
terms of 200 or 700 metric 
tonnes but in terms of lakhs 
of tonnes. 



DEMAND FOR 
MEDIA STORIES 


S torif^T dhd features oi^ 
thenewr.p^^uiorid 

(The great 

' 


6— 12 December) are always 
very Interesting to read. At 
one time regular articles on 
the media used to appetf in a 
dafiy. It would be great if you 
could do this too. And in- 
stead of merely concentrat- 
ing on media happenings in 
Bombay and Delhi, you 
should also cast your eyes 
south of the Vindhyas. 
V.SHHNmm,miwanf(HapaP 
■The new-found interest of 
the business tycoons in the 
fourth estate can be traced to 
their desire to dictate terms 
to the government They 
realise that a businessman 
can ^t the sympathy of the 
public if his newspaper estab- 
lishment is raided, but not so 
if the raids are on his busi- 
ness establishments. It 
would be much better if the 
press remained in the hands 
of public-spirited men rather 
than businessmen who be- 
lieve in self-aggrandisement 



ACCURATE 

PREDICTIONS 


"he fortune-tellers of 
Hoshiarpur are not to be 


sneered at (Masters of the 
future, 6—12 December). 
One cannot ignore the evi- 
dences of the accuracy of 


their forecasts. In his 


memoir, Untofd story, Gen- 
B. M. Kaul — ^who was partly 
responsible for the Indian 
defeat during the Chinese 
aggression of 1962— says 
how all the predictions of an 
unknown astrologer of 
Hoshiarpur had come true. 



KAPIL 

DESERVED THE 
SACK 

A Q said and done Kapil 
Dev deserved to be 
sacked (Why was Kapil sack- 
ed? ^12 December). He, 
as the captain, should not 
have played the loose shot 
for which we could never 
reach the final of the Reliance 
Cup. Cricket has become 
hi£^y competitive these 



Kapil Dev: punlahaU 


days and no cricketer can 
afi^d to relax even for a 
moment wliile playing an in- 
ternational n'latch. Like Kapil 
Dev, Sunil Gavaskar too, 
should have been punished 
when he scored 36 in 60 
overs in the first World Cup. 

%0m 11# MHWiIBnilllil# wwmUfmm 

(TsmKHadu} 

■Your article was biased. 
You find fault with Dilip 
Vengsarkar being chosen 
the captain because he did 
not have any experience 
even as a vice-captain. But 
then, Kapil Dev too was 
made the captain under simi- 
lar circumstances. In any 
case, a captain should never 
be chosen on the basis of his 
experience but on the basis 
(if his leadership qualities. 



LOSING 

CREDIBILITY 

B efore blaming the ^v- 
ernment for its actions 
as regards the Pui^b prob- 
lem, Khushwant Sini^ 
should worry about his own 
loss of credibility (Goss^ 
sweetandsour, 6— 12 De- 
cember). While the col- 
umnist demands the release 
of the Jodhpur detainees and 
the rehabilitatiQn of the army 
deserters ; he conveniently 
forgets the people who were 
killed by the terrorists both 
before and after Operation 
Bhiestar. 



SUNDAY 3-9 Janwaiy 1980 






ftcruimiNQ 

THE FIRE 

pertain lactsmtliecov- 
W er story (l/iMferfre; 

29 Novembor--^ 

. have been distorted. The 
authors write: '*Inl971, 

, India won but many milit^ 

; strategists fed that consider- 
: ingthatwewerefigh^an 
[ amiy of occupation with the 
sup^ of the local populace, 
we took at least three days 
. too long to enter Dacca. Says 
' a high government official: It 
' became very embarrassing 
when the army kept missing 
the dates in its own timet- 
. able'. Apparently, this delay 
cost G^. Aurora the job of 
chief of staff which otherwise 
would have been his." I won- 
der from where your corres- 
pondents got this bit of in- 
. formation. Moreover, who is 
I this high-ranking offidal who 
I considers that a change of 
^ timetable became an embar- 
° rassment? In a milit^ op- 
eration of this magnitude you 
could only have an approxi- 
mate time frame whi<^ in this 
case was three weeks. 1 
would like to stress that the 
' Eastern Command was 
assigned the task of defeating 
, Pakistan as early as posa- 
ble— it achieved this within 
i 12 days and forced Niazi to 
surrender. Regarding the 
prospects of Aurora 
becoming chief of army staff, 
I would 1^ to p^t out that 
it is useless to dig up non- 
existents. May I ask your 
correspondents to refer to 
the book, A Sghting cam- 
paign by Gen. Monty Palit. 
That should enlighten them 
about the real situation in the 
Banflfodeshwar. 

Haw 


■In the otherwise interest- 
ing cover story, the authors 
have missed out a vital point: 
that the Indian sokfiers and 
their commanders are among 
the best in the world. On the 
other hand, people who sit in 
their ptu^ offices in the 
capital and guide the fete of 
our soldiers have erred more 
often thannot Ourbureauc- 
rats and politidans have not 



Indian aoldlars In Sri Lanka: proMama abaad 


been able to prove their effi- 
ciency. Look what happened 
during the Chinese aggres- 
sion of 1962; the ignorant 
politicians who were re- 
sponsible for the army's de- 
bacle were never brought to 
book. 


PRAISE, DONT 
ABUSE 

r.J 

I was shcK^ed and dis- 
mayed thread the contents 
of the article on Chanuyit 
Singh (A bitter taste of life, 
29 November— 5 Decem- 
ber). When the manufecture 
of Coca-Cola was banned in 


1977 Charabjit Sin^ and his 
groupofcompaniesstiug- 
^ed very hard before their 
ind^ous product, Can^ 
Cola, became a success in 
the fodian market But in- 
stead of praising him for his 
commendable work, you 
have portrayed Char^it 
Singh as a man who is cap- 
abfe of running his hotel with- 
out the requisite licences. 



BLAMING THE 
MINORITIES 

W hile the Gian Prakash 
Committee’s report on 
the Meerut riots apparently 


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toiw^tskea 

lim p^ifetion of Meetrot^^ 
Citisii^ the riot ( 'The ^ 

wete r.;. ; 
Btftltiunkthattheatrcai^ 


on tHe-Muslims thmas wd 
as the partisan behaviour of 
the load administration clear- 
ly indicates that what hap- 
pened in Meerut was an 
anti-Muslim tirade and not a 
pre-planned riot. 

Certain sections of the In- 
dian Muslims are being ac- 
cused of harbouring pro- 
Pakistani sentiments. But we 
must ask why these Miislims 
behave the way they (Jp; I, 
feel that Hindu organisations 
like the VHP, BJP and RSS 
are responsible for alienating 
so many Indian Muslims. 

This must not be encour- 
a^. Haven't the Indians 
already learnt a lesson from 
their experiences in Punjab 
and the north-eastern 
states? 

' Mfmn^ GMow 


mmmmHmmmHmm 

MORE THAN 
TWO 

Y our report ( 77ie /jjg/i- ■ 
tecJi clinicst 1 — 7 
November) made interesting 
reading. However, it is not 
true that only two YAG Las- . 
ers have been installed so 
far. The number is much 
more. We, as the Indian 
distributors of MBB— Medi- 
zintechnik GmbH West Ger- 
many (the people who have 
invented Md: Yag Laser for 
medicine)— have already in- 
stalled 7 Yag Laseram 
India: at the AllMS and 
Army Hospital in DelhU the 
Tata Memorial Hospit^ in 
Bombay; the Cancer Insti-^ 
tute in Madras; ^e Com-' 
mand Hospital inl^ne;rat the 
Gujarat Canc^fris^ute 
in Ahmedabach and the 
Nizam's Institute of Medical 
Sciences in Hyderabad. 


IW^F mW^^arnm 




•UliMV3-BJwiuwyl98e 


5 





Character and characters 


T he CPl(M)'s analysis of the Thakkar- 
Natar^an Coi ion's report was by far 
the best. (I know; i jw: 1 am as tired of the 
Whole Fairfax busi ^3$ as you are, but as 
Sunday put it, it is a scandal which will not go 
away. The only difference is that the real truth 
about the scandal-mongers is now emerging.) 

The word used by that veteran E.M.S. 
Namlx^iipad, who needs absolutely no advice 
on which term to use when, was “shocking". 
The Politburo did not disguise its feelings either 
in its formal assessment, saying that the whole 
episode of hiring Fairfax surreptitiously, without 
as much as a single notation on the file, at the 
behest of a foreign business magnate, “denotes 
the collapse of governmental norms and bank: 
ruptcy of an administration where the bureauc* 
rats can be remote-controlled by big business 
houses and become prey to foreign agencies". 
Naturally, the CPl(M) was in no niood to 
exonerate the Prime Minister from blame; why 
should it? As head of the government, Rajiv 
Gandhi must share the blame for all the havoc 
that was created by the Bhure Lal-Vinod Pande- 
Gurumurthy-Nusli Wadia axis. All these patriots 




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tgunitdiHiii 

' itiiMaii 

: pMni^oim 
OQMTt llllipwi|l. 

MBOiifiOnillVI 
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, ‘ 1101091 1^ mi 

' SwNrii ‘ 



/went out and handed the country’s affairs to an 
ex-CIA specialist thinly disguised by a tattered 
dpakt but very proud of the dagger in his hand. 
Time is, as we have noted before, the worst 
enemy of such operators. Now we have the 
evidence to show what kind of a liar and 
manipulator Michael Hershman is. And it is not 
the Press Information Bureau of Rajiv Gandhi 
which has exposed this but The Washington 
Post— a newspaper whose credibility surely will 
not .be questioned by our home-bred heroes. 
The Post has e.xposed Harshman’s latest lies— 
about his much-touted allegation that Rajiv 
Gandhi wanted to bribe him with five million 
dollars in order to keep quiet. Naturally it was a 
smear which Hershman's faithful Indian news- 
paper allies printed with huge hecidlines. It now 
transpires that this carpetbagger called Hersh- 
man just made up the allegation. 

This particular story begins in Augiist, when 
the lawyer for a group of NKI businessmen, 
Philip S. Wolin, met Hershman and asked the 
chief of Fairfax to write a letter to the Thakkar- 
Natarajan Commission letting the commission 
know about all the alleged foreign currency 
violations so that at least all the controversy 
regarding his clients could be cleared. Wolin 
added that if Hershman wanted a f^e for doing 
so, he would consider it. There could be notliing 
fairer. Wolin was not asking Hershman to make 
anything up, just to write formally to the 
commission providing it with all the information 
he had. If Hershman had any very sensational 
information which would prove how evil every- 
one in Delhi was, he could have written in and 
said so: who was stopping him? Wolin also 
confirms that Rajiv Gandhi’s name was never 
even mentioned. And Wolin has said this also in 
formal records to the court where the case is 
being heard in Chicago, and a lawyer is not going 
to risk perjury. Hershman only interpreted it to 
be an offer on behalf of Rajiv Gandhi, he now 
claims, on the basis of the fact that one of the 
businessmen involved was Ali Siddiqui, a partner 
of Adil Shahryar, who is Mohammad Yunus’ son. 
But Wolin h^s smashed this putrid effort to find 
some linkage to Rajiv Gandhi too; he has said on 
record that he "didn’t remember Siddiqui’s 
name". And to add insult to injury, Hershman 
has now admitted that it was he who made a 
demand for five million dollars, no one offered 
that much to him. As for Rajiv Gandhi making 
any such offer, to quote WoKn: "That’s just not 
true." 

But the truth has never deterred the McCar- 
thys anywhere in the world. However, with 
time, the truth does expose us ail, as a now 
famous promotional sentence puts it. 

aUlllMY 3-9 January IM8 



I t does hot particularly surprise this writer that 
the i^randson of Mohanmied Atijihiiah was jlhe 
link between the government represented by 
'^liurc. aiid the ex-US intelligence agent 
Michael ilerslniian. One does not want the sins 
if the ancestor to visit Nnsli Wadia, except tluit 
' iiis man whose business interests in our (Duntry 
have helped him become one of the magnates of 
our land has about as much love for India as his 
grandfather, the architect of partition, had. Why 
do I say this? Simple. He does not have even 
enough commitment to India to hold an Indian 
passport. He is a national of the country which 
helped his grandfather divide the subcontinent, 
Britain. Now. one does not expect tliat everyone 
must have an Indian passport in order to show 
his interest in this country, but he is not even in 
the category of a proper NRI. 'Hie NRl is abroad 
because he finds an opportunity to do business, 
or find work, abroad: if nothing else, the NRl 
makes some money abroad, ^nd if he has any 
commitment to our country brings at least a little 
of his wealth earned abroad to the service of his 
motherland. But this man, Nusli Wadia, still 
earns all his wealth in our country, exploits and 
uses the resources of this country, finances his 
lifc'Style and his dangerous games by the wealth 
created in this land- but of course would not be 
caught dead with an Indian passport. It is this 
kind of person who we must uxlay accept as a 
“savioirr”. What utter rot! One would not have 
raised the point at all, as a matter of fact, except 
that people like Nusli Wadia have become active 
participants in games of power, in making and 
breaking- -or at least trying to make and break— 
governments. When you very consciously take 
on the role of a manipulator of events, then 
questions of motive, of your larger commitment, 
of your patriotism (or the lack thereoO will be 
asked. 

Frankly, it is not very edifying to dw^JI on 
such themes: this is the kind of story ^vyhich 
depresses one. As slowly information tijckles 
out about the games that were played by 
manipulators in conspiracy with men holding the 
highest offices in the land, one can only wonder 
at how much damage this combination of petty 
self-interest and over-merchandised ambition 
can do. Even the temptation to mention too 
many names has to be resisted, because dredge 
•ng them up over and over again will only hurt 
the institutions which these men were meant to 
protect. But that a nexus was operating is now 
beyond doubt: what the commission could not 
find out is dribbling out through interviews. This 
is inevitable, in a way, for this was too big a story 
to keep under wraps. Moreover, with a cast of 
characters as interesting, and indeed as naturally 
voluble as this one, you can hardly expect 
silence. Just think of it: a self-proclaimed ex- 
intelligence agent of the United States on the 
one side and a scoundrel masquerading as a 
guru, Chandra Swami, whose closest friend 
seems to be an arms-dealer of ill-repute Adnan 
Khashoggi, on the other. This great nation’s 
fortunes are being held hostage by the Hersh- 
mans and the Chandra Swamis. What more is 



Arun Nehru (left) end V.P. 9ingh: vielous balrayal 


there to say? If this was fiction no one would 
publish it on the grounds of being too absurd. 
But we have sat back anti swallowed the 
Statements of these thoroughly nuserable char- 
acters as pearls of honest wisdom. Hershman 
and Chanefra Swami are the arbiters of India’s 
morality! 

They only got away because, of the utter 
naivete which characterised Rajiv (iandhi's gov- 
ernment at that point. It may have been 
well-meaning naivete, for all I know, but it was 
naivete all the same and did great harm. 1987 
was nut just a bad year for Rajiv Ciandhi: and that 
in fact is not even the point. I'or, ihe fortunes of 
a Prime Minister are of ve y little consequence 
as compared to fortunes of a nation. But as much 
for his own sake as for the notion’s, hopefully, 
Rajiv (Jandhi has begun to appreciate clangers of 
confusing power and friendship? 

Let me just leave you with one thought. Who 
are the people who betrayed Rajiv (.'fandhi tnost 
viciously? Precisely those who received powet 
from him In the name of trust and fnend'^hip. Not 
one of them would have been of much nuiseqn- 
ence under any other Congress }‘rinic Minister, 
and one refers nr>t onlv to .■\initabh iJ.idicIsin ljul 
also to Arun Nehru and the? conquistadors of the. 
Jan Morcha. What an irony tluii the man who said 
even after his resignatKni Irinn go\ einrnciit that 
Rajiv Gandhi remained his leader and that the 
bonds of personal affection were too stnjug to be 
tom easily, now says that he would prefer even a 
Kalpnath Rai to Rajiv fiandlii as Prime xMinister. 
Understand, as the sages say. your friends: your 
enemies will look afier tluinselves. o 


Kiijwtliiipi^ 

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NfeA 

gVfVnilililn 

raMtenMliv 

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IMIwfNjM 

Intirailiinoiir 
' toyntarvlnyi 

iMingiiiivsiN 

wiawiliiiAoiit 
Mnwclt knit for 
InAnohii 

- IL. 

mmiQCiMi 


HIN0AV3-9Jiinuwv198B 


7 





Now pedals ri^t into 
Guinness Book of World Records 
as die largest selling bicycle in the world. 


hero creates HISTORY! 



HERO CYCLES 
PRIVATE LIMITED, 
LUDHIANA (INDIA) 






Dreams, and no more 


\ A Pritam’s 

'" iJ ' V ■ obsession 

- V *® dreams, 

f \ compiling a 

I I series on dreams of 

I I famous men; but of 

'S^S^S^ y/ people, she is 
V having them analy> 
. Ti l ' , r rd sed by an astrolo- 

ger. As it is, dreams are elusive enough 
and despite what Messrs Freud, Jung 
and Company may have to say about 
them, they fail to convince common 
people like me that there is more to 
them than the world dreams of. It does 
not take ? psychoanalyst to explain that 
most of our dreams are bom out of 
either anxiety or wish fulfilment. Ever 
since my school days I have been 
dreaming of finding myself in examina- 
tion halls without bemg prepared for the 
question paper. 1 dreaded examinations 
and continue to fear similar trials. I 
dream of missing trains and air connec- 
tions: I dream of finding myself improp- 
erly clad at formal functions. I have 
nightmares in which I see deaths of 
people I love, i^ire anxiety! Then there 
are dreams common to most of us: being 
able to fly or falling down a cliff. I 
concede that psychoanalysts who make 
it their business to probe into the 
mysterious workings of the mind have 
cogent explanations for some kinds of 
dreams and can help people overcome 
their phobias. But asking an astrologer 
to explain dreams is making confusion 
worse confounded. 

Names of two dreamers in Amrita 
Pritam’s list were suggested by me. 
Nadir Shah in his memoirs records two 
dreams which he believed foretold his 
conquests. The first one was while he 
was still a shepherd boy. He dreamt that 
while fishing he hooked a fish with four 
horns. Years latec when he consulted his 
court astrologer he was told that the fish 
was an emblem of royalty and its four 
horns represented the four countries 
that he had conquered. While toying, 
with the idea of invading Hindustan, he 
had another dream. He found himself in 
an orchard full of ripe fruit being de- 
voured by flocks of birds. He brought 
emt his catapult, shot a few birds, and 
drove the others away. The court 
astrologer explained that the fruit 
orchard represented Hindustan and the 
birds eating up its fruit were local 
chieftains who had nibbled up the 





inilCMiipfiiif lipif kM 

Aoilt dMIMIf M tft €011^^ 

PP^^^P 

H RIIVilPPliRi wwIPiP 
wpnp -npiP w , 

Mughal empire. He was depicted in the 
role of the saviour. 

The ocher dream 1 gave Amrita was 
from Sheikh XbduQah's autobiography 
Aatish-e<hi ’V r. Sheikh Sahib narrates 
a dream in which he saw himself as a 
bride-groom in the house of a Kashmiri 
Pandit. He was lavishly (and gratefully) 
entertained and triumphantly rode oft 
with his Hindu bride. 

Neither Nadir Shah nor Sheikh Sahib 
need have slumbered to have these 
dreams; they were important part of 
their awakened ambitions. 

What appears to me fatuous is the 
psychoanalyst's method of_ dream- 
analysis by investing objects with sexual 
significance. Pencils, pens, serpents, 
the Eiffel 1 ower and the Qutah Minar 
are phallic emblems. Spectacles, sun- 
fdasses, wallets, etc. represent female 
genital organs. If a woman leaves behind 
such objects in your apartment, you can 
deduce that buried deep down in her 
psyche is the wish to have sex with you. 
So be careftil when you lend your 
ball-point pen to your lady friendi The 
gesture will your latent ,desifip 
doubly clear. 1 am inclined to agree with 
Franklin P. Adanifs cautionary title of his. 
book **Doa*t te/if me what you dreamed 
last nie/it for I have been reading 
Fretgf\ 


I come to the most persistent dreams 
of youth which often end up in discom- 
fort and embarrassment. Most yijung 
men do not count sheep to put them- 
selves to sleep but fantasize about 
women. Since there is no censorship on 
fantasy, tliey conjure up visions of 
consorting with more th.in willing dam- { 
sels. They hope their dreams will be a ; 
continuation of these bed-time fantasies. 
Tliey seldom are. They find themselves ’ 
in amatory situations with women they 
never have, nor would ever have had 
anything to do with, while awake and 
spill their seed in them. 

So what is the stuff dreams are made 
of? A [.ao-Tzean scholar Chuang Chou 
came close to the Initii in a lecture he 
delivered in Columbia University in 1966 : 

“Once upon a time. I Chuang Chou, 
dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering 
hither and thither, to all intents andj 
purposes a butterfly. I was conscious 
only of my happiness a.s a butterfly, 
unaware that 1 was Chou. Soon 1 1 
awakened, and there 1 was. veritably | 
myself again. Now 1 do not know 
whether I was a man dreaming I was a 
butterfly, or whether 1 am now a butterf- 
ly. dreaming I am a man.” 


AVICE^HANCEUOirS 

AFTERLIFE 

H ashim Ali, Vice-Chancellor of the 
Aligarh Muslim University had his. 
audience in splits when he told the 
following anecdote : 

A Vice-Chancellor died and was re- 
ceived at the gates of Paradise for 
questioning before his fate could be 
decided. “What were you doing when 
living?" asked Diiaramraj. 

“1 was Vice-Chancellor of a Uni- 
versity." 

“That’s okay. You’ve suffered the 
pangs of hen on earth and deserve a 
break in paradiae." 

The next anivai was put through the 
sarhe questioning. “1 was Vice- 
Chancellor of a University for three 
aucces^ terms,” he* repiied. . 

’^Put him in hell,” orders Dharamrai. 
”He"s got into the habit,” 

(Narrated by Mujtaba Husain, New 
fJe/Afjo 




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CHAtTRA-B BLS 820 R 






i 


fm 


IblJliiifiiBlU* * Mae 
MriMcc, oatheGoillMtod 

• Bytbeaodof 1987, Gor^ 
kbalm «9 becxm the 26A 


8 iilnAailetiigli.QN^ 

chief 

• At leest Re SO croree beve 
been recdved by the Brvne 
tAnster and hb friends. 
Ram JethniMleid, enu^ 
lawyer and politician, on the 
Bororsdeai 

a 1 can’t respond to every 
barking dog 
Rajiv Gandhi 

• The way we have been 
spending money , this coun- 
try caimot survive 
Rajiv Gandhi 

a I have resigned (from the 
I Uiuoncabmet) tonal the he 
I thatIamoverambitiouB...A 
I chaHengewasputtoRiy 
I loyalty and I have proved my 
loyalty. 

V.F.Shigh* after resigning 
as defence numster 
a For die removal of Mar- 
cos, the sacnfioe of an 
Aipnno 18 necessary, lam 
prepared to give ray life for 
dnSf 

VJP.Ste^ 

• WemiatniMRibcrlKiw 
theMchand» aad Mk Jafn* 
MwotkcdtowMlnnaAd 
Mlitlieoaantiy. 

« tliiiiieellittcJibnMd 
JydMMd »wpo»who«ie 

tMouroeft, 


iiiniiiveiQ 

m4 dIaA ^nteMa^^fr 

WH QM millftiffflf- 



iiain ana oie erave posiQc. 
mauUGntbaOrn. 
Soviet leader 

• MAMa!}WMailMde> 
tm..,We are ootbothewd 
tbdutthem. WbbMdletiieiii 
wtieo the tnaeoDOMs.^ 
lUijhr Gandhi, an ne 
tihi^ ftem Moetan 

• Weeo-enstedwithdie 
Chneae bomb fcr 20 Man, 
butePaldatttibaaib? ..1 
cannot be aim that ne mB 
be able toco-enat'widiit 
KaJlvGaaMflii 

• lamnotmdiilgiodmeeif- 
praiae. butlVddataniaanav- 
telhgent people. 

ZhHil on Pdebtan 
creating the dtuano that h 
haaaniiclearboinh, tolceap 
IndaoS-balanoe 


fi? 


anniatgr 
• OvdnMliition baa gone 
m RdhrCGaiidbSiBoarbeat 


AtnnShowfOk edhorof 

iiXBw JSJ^V69 v 

a Wiepbnpoeta nt laaBaa 
UmtbM^ftiadlacnaaadiiot 
even 25 maoiben an pre' 
aeHt; everyone la preai^ 
vriwndiereistnNme, 

iiOkSabha 





a ihavechmedme method 
01 xunmiig poDQcs. 

Kalhr Gandhi 
• Wean bawgt rtedlw ra 
d^a^aecietacy In tile hone 


• WearatingoweRnant, 
man the party n dfagail 
overhidh. 

G A MaaMMRCongred- 
aaSganetalaeaeiaiy 
a Wbatdottiay(theCoii< 
gr e nD haiveidB ithrtn -* 

cidy IhnsaorfoiW ataleia 
Gait lai, HKnrii chief 



• twdooiimiitpolitieal i 
auicideifIcdl]ni(Xm I 
Dhaa) cbamarJnteobcba,..! 
amnotacaateiat IcaBedhim 
hiehcbaaodhe baa turned it 

.KJi;.tewaei CongteaatOIV 
a Thapukhcaectorsaholy 
cow that produces neither 
ndfenorodvee. 

'Vaeant Satiba, Unonenrt^ 
gynuniater 

e Icaafiddanycandiilate 
from ai^nlieM andiminBt 
anyane and «e ni mn if 
themlanongGRg' 

Smupl^ tender 

• We tart tost about one 
aoUtet adQr, in the peat four 
yean, but rtooe tiie sifratg 
oftiiepeeoeaooaid, note 
•tagte SInhata .Ttanl or Mtts> 
RnaoUieriheiL There nlaoe 
bsi hof h tsfeothy 

Jolla jnwwwVBim, an 

laiOlid PflMMIlt 


a PbUknVtaiaiirthe 
namea we «i ihake h prtdte 
onnawa art tile cteeranoe 
frotatiw famnBtirttag agen* 


VAMart* 

w ItMnklhavebesDa 
freak.. J doa% think I ft into 
thesyatem. 

V,P.8iii|ft 

a Imsbloouldgotoeveqr 
villige and aay t want aptiiq, 
hem. duttapubBclifeitta 
not poartble todo thtagn ti* 
way one ftactHned ta the 
flhiia. 

A.fnl.ri^afaalra*l yo«, ft iO- 

a Idoatknowwhatdic 
WoddBankia. 

Mother fanaai. agoatie of 
peace, to WoildBwpnnfr 
di^MwrCoiMte ^ 
atithenienperfirtundW- 

$taiidihganQOg,tbajHfhe« 


there mH be namMi^ 


smKnegffi toe 

fonner Irfesi* 

dntcfbrtia 

aWeteedi‘A’fcri*|itei^ 
frrbmairt'C'forcat 
net we tench, ’A'ibrAU. 
*B' far Buddha. ^frrOuiat 
and D* far Devi? 
ft Veahatiwaanin, Brert* 
dantoflwtai 

o No God on earth M id ha 
was God 

N,f. Kannillae, Andtan 

tVs ila eti ,irt:ii9tt| a r ms 

A^eiUBmfl CillCi tHwlrotPry 00 

people oonaRiing iita to G 
a Thmtanoppaetalifcb 
eaatamanw. 

BhngwaBiltng yn ed h ,eon» 


rmv ^y.m 


would hha to ptan out waB 
Mftt dean to iny heat 

pi^. 

Dtn^lbigadia. ftnae- 
treat" 







MHItiiit youths on ths rampsfls: thsy hsvt to bo won ovor 

The Punjab Police chief J.F. Ribeiro has undertaken a mass contact 
programme. Can the administration isolate the terrorists from the people? 


J ulio Francis Ribeiro dutches his 
collar like an actor **Hainara 
unform hi bamaara dharam hai/* 
His appeal to the gathering of 
Sikhs in Laukha village is that of a 
missionary. And the people of 17 terror- 
ist-afifected vilbges did not seem to mind 
that the director general of pofice could 
not address them in chaste PuitjabL The 
broken Hindi of Ribeiro breaks through 
the suspidon of the crowd — some elders 
even stand up and clap. For about daee 
months now, Ribiero has been taking 
th^ message through the length and 
breadth of Punjab. Conceived soon after 
President’s rule was imposed on 12 
May, the ”Lok Shakti Samagam” or the 
’’People’s Movement” has covered half 
the 12,500-odd villages of the state. 
Coining as it does tow^s the end of a 
year in whidi the terrorist movement 
has received a setback, the mps- 
contact programme has opened p fresh 
fronts. For the people, it is witness a/:' 
open court, for the police of the diiu id 
in which meetings are held, it is usehll 
inquisition and for the lurking terrorist, a 

12 


step backwards from winning the sym- 
pathy of the masses. 

In the war that is being fought in 
Punjab, both the security forces and the 
extremist elements are directing their 
drive to win the support of the people, 
'rhe police’s conUct programme comes 
at a time when extremists have suffered 
major reverses. After the attempt on his 
life on 3 October, 1986, Julio Ribeiro 
was advised against such public interac- 
tion. But he persisted. ”We had 
appealed to the politicians to talk to the 
people but since they refused we have to 
do it ourselves,” explains the DGP. 
Adds Punjab Governor Siddhartha 
Shankar Ray who has taken on the role 
of Ribeiro’s fellow-campaigner: ’’Fight- 
ing terrorism now is like countering 
Naxalism in West Bengal or quelling 
insurgency in the north-east.” 

In eveiy village the mess^ is the 
same and the questions persistent. On 
arriving in Laukha, in the Tam Taran 
aub-^^, the Pinijab police chief 
T:rdmed to know if any cases of frlse 
-TidKnters or police repression had 


been reported. The crowds are quiet but 
restless. As Ribeiro urges: ’’Darro mat 
Faislla abhi ho jayega” A young boy 
stands up surprising everybody widi his 
En^sh: ’’Sir, they are scared of the 
police and therefore do not speak. In 
these viUages where lerrorists frequent- 
ly strike we want more CRPF deploy- 
ment.” He is Ra^ubir Singh Kairon. 
former Puqjab cluef minister, Pratap 
Singh Kairon’s grmdson. The boy’s 
wo^s are an invitation for the village 
to break their silence. Finally ai^st 
cheering, Surinder Singh alleges that 
two months ago his brother lad been 
killed by the CRPF in the village. 

For the first time since he had begun 
the ”Lok Shakti Samagam" programme, 
Ribeiro was confront^ with a concretb 
allegation against a member of the police 
force under his command. Why, he then 
asked the villagers, had the sarpandt of 
Laukha said no one had been IdM here? 
Izhar Alam, the high-profile SSP ol 
Amritsar, who atte^ed the meetmg 
was asked to return and mvestigate the 
case. As it turned out, before Ribeirc 



moved to the next village, Mam recalled 
the case of alleged police excesses. The 
dead body of Surinder Singh’s brother 
had been found by the police one morn- 
ing after a poup dash between "B 
grade” terrorists near the vill^e. ’’Peo- 
ple often make such false claims. After 
such a public disclosure these villagers 
will now make a hue and cry about false 
encounters again,” said Alam while ire- 
tuming to Aniuitsar after completing the 
last ”Lok Shakti” meeting in his district. 

After covering 180 vil^s during six 
meetings in the Gurdaspor and Amritsar 
districts, Ribeiro told Sunday, not a 
sin^ case of fake killings had been 
substantiated. Propagan^, however, 
has continued to deter their fight against 
terrorism. The situation, he felt, was 
somewhat similar to the hill which fol- 
lowed the prize catdies of the polioe 
between July and September 1986. 
hfaiibir Sincjh Cheru and Tamam Siiu^ 
Kito had been nabbed in the months 
when the terrorist threat was a* its 
p^ Similariy, there had been an 
uneasy silence after the imposition of 
President’s rule. The brutal killing of 
Ifindus in the Lalru and Fatebah mas- 
sacres have now been balanced by the 
successive arrests of ’'grade A” terror- 
ists by the police. Soon after the arrest 


of Hariiinder Singh Jinda and his allies, 
the polk;e got S^rarwvit Singh, responsi- 
ble for the CMttauranjan park killings in 
Delhi. 

There is a definite pattern in the 
encounters and Idliings in Punjab.*^When 
the terrorists come out to kfil they get 
killed themselves. Now they are under- 
ground attempting to regroup them- 
selves,” said DGP Ribeiro. By all 
accounts, 1987 has been the most suc- 
cessful year for the Punjab pofice. After 
President’s rule, 259 terrorists have 
been killed in encounters and 2,513. 
arrested. A sure sign of a turnabout 
from the counter-terrorism operations in 
the previous years where identification 
of a slain terrorist was usually denied by 
statements emanating from the Golden 
Temple. Also, the 531 people killed in 
terrorist attacks in the same period, 
there is unusually large number of Sikhs. 
’The tactics of the terrorists have 
^changed after we have infiltrated their 
Inetwork,” says S.S. Virk, DIG of the 
|CRP in Punjab. ’The next few months 
’wilU)e the decisive phase of the opera- 
tion.” 

During an 8 December meeting in 
Jalandhar, Ribeiro had reassessed the 
changing situation. Among the other 
things discussed at the cru^ meet was 
how the physche of the terrorist was 
likely to be affected as he was*being 
politically and religiously isolated. To 
win back the support of the masses, 
Ribeiro would strike at the two groups 
which were of itiong against him; the 
police and the informers who were 
providing the security forces with the 
information about their whereabouts. 
’’Keep your senses about you, ” were his 
timely words of caution. 

J.F. RIMro recruiting Sikh youtha 
for the CRPF: a tactical war 


Six days later, terrorists struck in 
Patiala in an obvious attempt to demoral- 
ise the police force. In a cakewalk 
operation unidentified members of the 
’’Bhindranwate Tiger Force” mowed 
down two senior Sikh police officers, 
turning the tables on the police with a 
aingle blow. A.S. Brar, the assassinated 
SSP of the district had earlier been 
Ribeiro’s SP (Security). “Brar w!»s over- 
confident and had been following the 
same routine of exercise fo four months 
without security gaurds,” lamented the 
director general following the assassina- 
tion. Mong with Brar, K.S. Gill, SP of 
Patiala, was killed. This was the most 
cruel setback for the police since the 
killing of DIG A.S. Atwal in the Golden 
Temple in 1983. 

W ithin days of the Patiala kilfiogs, 
the terrorists made their "moves. 
In gruesome attacks entire Sikh families 
were wiped out in the course of ten 
days. During the same period, on 16 
December, the terrorists further ex- 
posed their conspiracy against police 
informers and while doing so forced the 
“acting jathedar” of the Akal Takht, 
Gurbach^ Singh Manochal, to lay bare 
his gameplan. Even in this case the 
terrorists were acting on cue. 

Mancchal, the chief of the “Bhindran- 
wale Tiger Force of Khalistan” (BTFK) 
and among the most wanted men in 
Punjab, was known to be seeking shelter 
in the house of one Jagir Singh, sarpanch 
of Varana village in Tam Taran. Intelli- 
gence of the Akal Takht supremo's 




hideout reaclied the poBce and in a late 
night .operation in November* a 50- 
member strong posse of police 8ur< 
rounded, the saipancfi’a house. The tip* 
off rOdd but in the encounter that en- 
sued* .Manochal escaped under the cov- 
ert dsrjkpess with a bullet throu^ his 
tfai^' Manochars bodyguard, Bhutta 
died in the exchange of fire and 
sufai^uendy Jagir Singh was lodged in 
Amritsar jal under the NSA for harbour- 
ing terrorists. 

The attempt on Gurbachan Singh 
Manochal, whose BTKF had recently 
tgk^ an edge over other extremist 
tetions with strikes outside Punjab, 
rattled the group. Threats and warnings 
of liquidating Ja^ Singh’s family poured 
in tffl the Bhindranwale Tiger Force 
struck on 16 December. Around 
midnight, the terrorists first made a 
bonfire pf the household articles and 
lined up tlie satpanch*s wife, two sons 
and nephew in the courtyard. The family 
was kifled in a hail of bullets. Tlien the 
gang proceeded to massacre the family 


yj ‘V'‘“ . C* . ' ' . ■ 

teiroH»in in 
‘Hettiui ti turn 'become 
9.fioWbiitg.pnblem.Wk9 

^S. Kay: h was k poltctn^ pnAi- 
^ with. Alt after msi- 

■'^o^s 1^' we are takmjs initjlatives 
-''■ .nbt on the. law Slid orto hont 
on itm -inychi4pgi|Cal front 
f i|W.«oiDtiotta( fronts. For ui^ this is 
. ^ a^-<» awtgtsn^any ntote, It 
^ ■j^s. ^ceMe a ihissi^ . 

O'etpiie ■ ihf HfliyiWeerfeniinC 
^' mtmber af temrUt mre$t» 

, sitwiMilM in 

^ iaanlier«f^fpmiet0l^.tn*n 
"fiiittn up bp pun. with thp 
CeutreT. ... 

We are trying to .s^aiise and 
' reotganise our prosecution teams for 
the terrorists to trial Ev- 
eayl^y is saying that «nce 197S 
there '1^ not been such a positive 
- st^ to fight terrorism at the grass 
roots’ level. But I agrM that yon 
onnot <ihly K«e oh alleged foke 
enoDunters. You have to prosecute 
. and'fihve people hanged’ and this is 
being fooked into. . i 

How hu the etrategp M the 
terrwiotaehaapedheeaueeoft^ 
recent reveroale ihep have W- 
fereif' : ' , 

Earlier they used to ^Aart:' tlvi^ 
actkm and we used to react ^ , 

Now we are acting and diey 


I 

u 


of Jagir Sink’s bro^r, Dalip Singh> in 
tl^ neighbourhood. Among the senior 
police officers who rushed to the spot of 
the tragedy that night was Virk who 
repeated the tragic irony bf terrorism for 
the villagers. “This,” said Virk,‘ pointing 
to the dead bodies, “was the reward for 
harbouring terrorists. They eat your 
food. Take money from you and then kill 
you too.” 

For the people, the bloody vendetta of 
the terrorists against informer had 
dangerous portents. For the police the 
killing of Sikh families was a cause for 
worry: their infonnation network would 
crumble under pressure of such attacks. 
However, senior members of the police 
are optimistic, for, what the terrorists 
are indulging in are wanton killings and 


that the terrorists have not been able to 
pierce throufdi their intelligence, ^id a 
confident Izhar -Alam in whose district 
several Sikh families have been done to 
death and who has faced the brunt of 
around 60 of the uniformed deaths in 
1987: “I can claim that they have not got 
any of our informers. If the terrorists 
continue with their present strategy 
more Sikhs who have been giving shel- 
ter to them under duress will be killed.’* 
The kiil^gs in Tam Taran, he said, were 
all the more tragic because neither jagir 
Singh nor any member of his fomily had 
been instrumental in the swoop on 
Manochal. This was yet another inst- 
ance of terrorists killing members of 
their community merely on suspicion of 
collaborating with the police. 



Punjab Governor S.S, Ray feels that the terrorists 
have been isolated 


reacting. An indicptiont of their <te> 
aporation ia atoo (dear), they are 
inot. Gifting for a cause, now bto for 
money. Tnisre j» dear evidenpg tost 
'^terrprnt gangs, fire;- moving into 
■ metematy.mtoderifc, 'niey.flto'flto. 
.fightoig for. a cattse and me 
IdUiii^nre indepefiilmt:ofWI^ 
iam and mbtivea.allmcaed'to mere 

■; 

etuhi: goVfpi^tU} 
merp gitoretf to htep.-tbo 



to adueye aiiythtng it is the folfew> ' 
ii^ one, the people know.todro is a ' ' 
government and it means buslhesjip. . 
Two, that Kha|istap;.is- ad ahiMtd;--. * 
dahand;and not atidne^ .Iwee^ >: 
thfif temmiam Is' ifot 

. faringjnfi jPdito hr-todfitoto’hekmise’;.''. 
mere atd.tnore.lm^ 
kn^' ^dto'29 pe(W''atoh.;1i^' 

' IfiUed in .toe 'firai --Me 
Dipentoer. 'Sfi- were'SliM;'''1':to9Av 
bqm tor tle ^ M 






iiitoa 


8UlllltoV3-4Janiitov iwa 



Sure enough, even after this Varana 
episode, the denouement came from 
Amritsar. The day after the killings, the 
Akal Takht chief in a typical Golden 
Temple press note release '^clarified" 
that the flight of the militants was not 
against any religion but to counter the 
communal and oppressive tactics of the 
government. The BTKF **chief gener- 
al", the note said, was warning the 
masses of the consequences freed by 
police infonners— 90 per cent of whom, 
he confessed, were Sikhs. Manochal 
warned his men about needlessly killing 
their own people. The identity of the 
informers should be first verified and 
killings not conunitted merely on suspi- 
cion, he said. His reference was to die 
massacre of sarpanch Jagir Singh's 
frmily. 

According to the heads of the 55,000 
"merged” security forces of the Punjab 
Police, the GRP and the Border Security 
Force, there is a positive note in the 
large number of iidormers trickling to 
police stations to inform that the recruit- 


la the time eondueiiie far fhe 
UfUng of Pre9Uknf$ Rkief 
We are filing assessments all 
the time and di^e. isa dc^e tfm,, 
to hand over Pui^b to a popuhff' 
government but thfr come ifroiit . 
only when teiroriam has been con- 
tained. action ^ be very dme- 
. ty-^bot not just Veb^whenm 
total dfvfrion on ' ^ polhical ;ai^ 
religious fro^. The^UAO and the 
SGPCkespBtTfrm 

imw vd|i,be an extreme 

en ia ^ 


; poB^; tt : 

/^twewm/dyin^ ' 

, ^frdal 'vbett he was- In (irisDa. So^ 
ilBrti^d fai lMlfties, iny' 

• ophebbti:ate.^ on .iti}u8titeeBr:-4o^e < 
, the Sfrte di^ 



ment drive of the militants is frr from 
proceeding at ^ happy pace^ Realign- 
ments are currently taking place actively 
as they were in 1986 when various 
splinter organisations were formed to 
offset the losses. In a significant move to 
delay the regroupmg, the police arrested 
a prominent leader of the Toronto-based 
World Sikh Organisation (WSO) in 
Amritsar, Balkar Singh. His interroga- 
tion conducted last month revealed that 
he was sent as an emissary of the 
expatriate organisation to coordinate 
activities of die four largest terrorist 
groups working in Ihinjab: the KCF, the 
KLF, the BTKF and the Babbar Khalsa, 
the fundamentalist militant group headed 
by Talwinder Singh Parmar from Parmar 
Canada and Pakistan. By the time the 
police could intercept the merger 
moves, Balkar Singh had already deli- 
vered the Rs ten lakhs handed to him in 
Canada for each of the first three 
.groups. It was while the WSO leader 
was making his contact with the Babbar 
Khalsa frontliners in the Golden Temple, 
that he was nabbed. At least one of the 
“emergency measures” taken by the 
extremists to regroup and realign was 
successfully qborted. 

If the plan of the expatriate extremists 
has succeeded, then, perhaps, we would 
have been witness to one of the worst 
incidents of terrorist violence perpe- 
trated ever against the Hindus. This is 
primarily to incite a communal upsurge 
against the giving the extremists 
an opportur to give a call for the 
setting up of a Khalistan Council. The 
police now fear that with the terrorist 
getting cornered in the last few months, 
they will strike outside Punjab with stray 
dacoittes and robberies, speciaUy for 
funds. The lull in Puiyab might continue. 

Despite the optimism on the law and 
order front, the crunch is yet to come. 
Ribeiro and his men disagree that any of 
the major terrorist groups are at the 
point of decimation. As the Durdaspur 
police chief, J.P. Birdi, informed, that 
though 35 hardcore terrorists have been 
killed in 1987, it is only the minor 
militant groups like the “Khalistan Re- 
serve Army” and the “Fannier Regim- 
* eiit” formed by members of rival fretions 
which have been eliminated from the 
scene. Realignments in the other orga- 
nisations are afoot and there are around 
ten prime targets before the security 
forces. Among the most dangerous ter- 
rorists still operating are Manochal— 
one of the two members of the origiral 
Panthic Committee— still at large with 
Wassan Singh, who is known for .his 
Pakistm connections. Besides, there is 

**gener^” Labh Singh, the operational 
chieti rfJdie KCF. He is a police deserter 
■ . T i m A p I A A 


who is on the top of the KCF fight for 
leadership, despite the absence of a 
religious sanction from the Sikhs. After 
the arrest of Harjinder Sins^ Jinda, the 
supremacy of Labh Singh in the KCF 
ranks is unquestionable. To break the 
back of the largest terrorist organisation 
in Punjab, the police is not giving up its 
pursuit of Labh Singh or “Sukha Sepoy”, 
as he is called. Then there are members 
of the outlawed All India Sikh Students 
Federation (AISSFJ headed by Gutjit 
Singh, recently believed to have been 
spotted in Delhi and Lfombay. Though 
they were not willing to clarify, some 
senior members of the police force 
hinted that it was Labh Singh’s lieute- 
nant, Guijit Sini^, who had made a 
move of conciliation with them. When 
questioned about it, the DGP laughed 
Ae matter off. “I cannot say if we have 
got feelers from Gutjit. Only there can 
be no question of a truck with a known 
criminal like Guijit Singh,” said Ribejro. 
He also placed a triumvirate of the 
KCF— Charanjit Singh, Gurcharan Singh 


and Bittoo— on top of his hit list of 
terrorists as he felt these “strike men” 
of die group had created a larger operat- 
ing base than the imprisoned Harjinder 
Singh jmefr. 

Unfortunately, the offensive in Punjab 
stops with the police action. One of the 
reasons why terrorism has been sus- 
tained is that follow-up action of pro- 
secuting and jailing of oftenders is at a 
standstill. ’This is how terrorism is 
continuing and not finishing,” said an 
SSP of one of the worst-affected dis- 
tricts. It is a fact, he said, that when the 
record of clinching terrorist cases by the 
Punjab Police must be abqut the highest 
in the world— subsequent judicial action 
is stagnant. The benevolence of the 
Bains Committee report tabled during 
the Bamala government's tenure caused 
the release of 80 per cent of the 
extremists in Punjab jails. 

Even today, one of the lesser known 
peculiarities about tenorism in Punjab is 
that whatever be the number of attacks 

of an arrested grader*', the criminai is 

released on bail within two years. 



HHiiMsf liiiNiciMi chi 
hiloM I CMiticlInf' 


tMNDAVMJWMiyfSe 


15 



KK US 


*/» • ^ r 1^ 

I /A#* 

p 


t '4 WT***« — *■» ■ < ■ ■ » **■■» - H ‘»tr^ ^ 

iJdF. RiBSSShi ^ htl^h Pphce chief, dismisses 
) idiegi^orisdffakeencoitrUers 


» *et‘ 


ihmBAYtHmekbbtd^ptMm 
tMMmcuiieeMihimtImt 
iia»$ M in Mf t rgmd Man* 
ut**A" gteds ttrrtHM in 

L«tniet«lyou-4t» 
« -qMMfiOB dI cncountan at ^ 
~ of Ikoae idtowa are known 
awl if thq^ alW aeeo 'movittg 

with weapowMR ^ ivht ot 

Vmnoe t do tttrt aee wiqr wk 
•■ilttN not kitt them MhM they 

t vift any vdlice I ask if 
iMldeets have been kdleil In 
eneountera. tiwir answer a 
on, Inftoi, the viUaaart feel justice M 
MUg done whenever a terrorut w 
MM But it is the Mtdlectuais of 
C3iaiMbgaifc->tbe profe sso r g , mtet' 
leetuaia. retire^ B^yccneient and 
anujr ofSoers Who mumble most 
''They are not affected by Bus war at 
dhot centmue a ynopagaoda 


Themiitanndfliepeoiitetoi 
dstids Ilf vMmim h bflfilinta 

wWIPHiW W« W VwvwVVW IV PrVHWmvn mw 

iniiw in iiKantiiis iii9 iivipin 
vihfMofBlioMbvIltagiln 
KiDiirHiila voliiiilirb 

nvVIfWl li^MV F wlWiWM WW i WPWW VliV 

Jill Mi V MivvA AwBUiMAlv MwImv vMav 

OTuiiinrNioiTvnfiiiiOiiiigoiiQr 

IjijMaM A 1 wl jilfljiv wjiwMif 

MHNing I pon onKB ncMny 


> Whg? 

I don't know but h b my thadcy. 
They feel Biey can M Mfwmk^^ 
of the flwvemmenh These kmeo- 
hais keep writing about the ooM9eb< 
aona for aid the defeirife of the 
Sikhfc * 

¥•» hwm INNS DaheN hp • 
pefftMafjwb bp fWwMf fheafstt 
Ar IfliW'wikifeMP wiaie» twwMd 
leWaowaiMe. SluMilM fibe 
eCanl Mae tfeiie fWa?* ^ 


pobce rqKcsaan realy haftahef j 
Them w^ conmierife gbonIa|n||||g 
rai and how KSbewQ ifed askeew^i 
uijbmited powera. b tnii^ % haw jj 


For several inontha f hept foafbg , „ 

about fetoeencouatatwahdtaldfepiit | vniiaiit plllliiali abt extremlata prtch 


ashed for only one unfettered pow' 
er-— over nqr own pcAcemen Stdl, 
people kept sayfeg tint the pobce 
was repressive— (hey tooted, kdled, 
raped m exhorted money Sulhad 
to go and aril tf this was true If it 
was not I had to make counter 
propepmife. And since nobody was 
wfljng to do thiajob, I had to do it 
iiiyM( Ferinstance, Captain Amim* 
dar Smgh had said some 2,700 Sdch 
boys were miwing Iwantedtoknow 
thesr nsmes because such stste 
ments gwe the impression that we 
have fcued them In all the vdldges I 
have asked for names but have not 
got d smrie one so for Now I have 
written to Amnnder Singh and asked 
fann for a hat He says he i>> stiD 
prepanngit Even Khusbwdnt Smgh 
has wntten about the missing boys 
recently 

Whef i$ four reaehon utter 
ceSerfap the utute? 

AD thtt propaganda is absolutely 
false If rejmsKin was a fact then 
would my guards and pobtemen 
(most of whan are Sddis) have hked 
It’ they would have revolted fhe 
pobce can neves' be popular because 
ttinaadeprivationrirole WhatlsoD 
feel very unhappy about 18 that some 
educated ^hs feel I am a great 
eqiNWOC. Some senior ofiBoers stiU 
foot at me as tf I were the devil 

Hum «nw lAe terrurM* iw> 
pnNfpfef wwf reaUguiitf them- 
aefuea uumf 

They have their own underground 
9fstm ot cnomuncabons wfawh is 
active but formerly they used to 
pappet out teintoriea to members of 
gangk and were prouS of bemg 
lA*gsnmria" of an ex- 
1, It «» good sign 
are fswec eanfedatee 
up the top posts. This ibr 
nee which jisi oMe to 
do not aiMunee new 
and reavitment has 
tninertown IVhilenAniMaarforlO 



(ithif inpit the imsB set tiobody 

minibers erft thus 

' I T ' * " 



16 


Convictions for terronsts arrested by 
hib forces, Ribeiro admitted, would con- 
tinue to be almost ml Intheeyentofan 
arrest, no policeman is wiUtng to interro- 
gate the suspect to {dace tus charge 
before a court of law. Constables face a 
genuine threat to their lives onpe they 
assist in prosecution of a terrorist 
Judges all over the state have expressed 
i their hesitation in taking up such cases 
In a solitary case of conviction of Tarsem 
Singh Kohar, the district judge was 
assassinated So great is the fear of 
taking up bnefs against the teironsts 
among the judioaxy that even the re- 
cently killed pobce officer, KS Gill’s 
father in-law, an additional sessions 
judge in Pati^, has requested that he 
be kept awav from the case of his 
relative 

As yet, no initiative has been forth- 
coming to end the stalemate on the 
judicial front TiU there is a break- 
through some judicial experts have 
' suggested that Punjab Police be vested 
I with special powers of prosecution so 
) that they are gianted authority of a 
fact finding commission 

At a stage where an uneasy political | 
vacuum exists, the counter-attack by 
the police is making thmgs look up 
Politically, there have been no signals 
for the i^oom to lift but a mood towards 
normalcy has set in The rugn of the 
terronsts has ended and the religious 
acceptance of extremism at the grass 
roots level is waning The resistance of 
the people to a decade of violence is 
beginning to show in mudents like the 
one when villagers of Bholath village in 
I Kapurthala voluntarily nabbed one of the 
three terronsts fleeing after looting a 
I post office recently In a year when the 
I leaders <A the mutant movement had . 

warned the country of mass migration I 
I from Punjab, 462 Hindu families have 
I returned home 

The Centre miglit not feel the time is 
I npe for ending President's Rule But 
I what the Punjab Governor and director- 
general of pobce hint m pnvate con- 
versation 18 that resolving long-pending 
demands of the Sikhs n^t create a 
conducive atmosphere for restoration of 
popularnile A look at the cases of some 
of the Jodhpur detenues and of the 
perpetrators of the November nots m 
Delhi and other places agam, nu^ 
change matters. The drive of the secur- 
ity toces must be backed up with such 
timely action For even as the govern- 
ment rethinks about its Puiqab policy, 
the terronsts will continue to choose and 
attack targets m the state 

RHu SaiWAmHIanr 

•UNSAY 3-.«Jtiiu«y IMS 



INSURGENCY 



N$CNguarrillat undargotoig tralnino In a hklaoiit In Burma: uniting for a eauaa 


Gangii^up 

Are links between Khalistani and Naga rebel leaders 
being forged? Is Pakistan playing a role in building 
this nexus to keep India's northern and eastern 
flanks disturbed? Is London the sf/ ctuary of these 
rebel chieftains? 


S ometime in August 1986, 
Mowu Angami, the hand* 
some “general” of the Naga 
underground, vanished from 
Dimapur giving tailing 
sleuths a slip. He reached Amritsar, 
changing three trains on the way. There 
he got in touch with members of the 
Khalistan Commando Force who helped 
him get across the border to Pakistan. 

Mowu Angami is not an unfamiliar 
name for the Pakistani military intelli* 
gence, who were the main source of 
support to underground Naga rebels^ in 
the Fifties and Sbeties. The'^general's*' 
request to his Pakistani hosts was short 
and simple: all he wanted was a false 
passport to reach the United Kingdom, 
where Angami Zapu Phizo, the fother- 
figure of the Naga struggle, lives. His 
ostensible mission: “To intemationaliSie 
the Naga cause”. His actual mission: to 
explore possibilities of understanding 
between Phizo and the pro-Bejjing 
NSCN chief, Thuingelong Muivah. 
Mowu’s hosts were obliging. Within a 


week the passport was there and the 
rebel *general”'on h^s way to London. A 
recent press fiote by a littleknown orga- 
nisation called “Nagas* Friends” talks of 
“General” Mowu Anipmi’s achieve- 
ments in Europe in {Rowing words: “The 
Naga story has b^n heard loud and 
clear all over Europe this summer, as 
General Mowu, messenger of his peo- 
ple, has journeyed from country to 
country. Following his successful 

Mivu II M inin 

woridM MiiifiR if Iki 

ISwiMpip ftFpuMhWt 

. S wc ip K l^olwMtpiiifiiil 

BBIinfBrBflBI BIB INbIBI 1 MIHII 

M^gniiiBiicilid Sw 

IBM 

NiiwiiiBiBiiiBi INN MU VIBBIIBB 


appearance at United Nations, Geneva, 
the well-travelled general, accompanied 
by a Naga friend, has visited: 

(a) Netherlands — where he met many 
non-governmental organisations con- 
cern^ with the welfare of the suffering 
p^le and gave interviews to presti- 
gious newspapers and radio prog- 
rammes; 

(b) l|pnmark — ^where he cemented im- 
portant contacts made in 1986; 

(c) Sweden — where he not only re- 
ceived whole-hearted welcome from 
church groups, politicians and a range of 
organisations but also gave a press 
conference and an interview to Swedish 
Radio; and 

(D) Luxembourg and West Germany — 
where he revisited old fronds and made 
contacts for the Nagas.” 

The press note, dated 12 October *87, 
goes on to quote “General” Mowu on his 
“highly praluctive tours**: “We have 
been encouraged by the strength and 
interest shown in our cause. People 
wanted to know the Naga case. They 
had not known about it before they told 
me.” 

The “general*s** visit has naturally 
raised a number of questions in Naga- 
land. It is learnt that the organisation, 
“Nagas* Friends,** has a diverse mem- 
bership of Sikh extremist elements, 
Kashmiri “liberation fighters*' and “rep- 
resentatives” of the “struggling peoples 
of northeast India,** as well as some 
“sympathetic Europeans'*. 

Investigations have revealed that 
Mowu succeeded, with the help of his 
newly-won “friends”, in arranging 
several meetings between Angami Zapu 
Phizo and the I^alistani leaders, includ- 
ing the Sikh extremist leader, Jagjit 
Singh ChauhanAo explore possibilities of 
coordinating “the future stnii^es of 
suffering peoples seeking liberation from 
India." Mowu also appeared at the fifth 
workii^ session of the Working Group 
on Indigenous Populations at the United 
Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, be- 
tween 3-7 August *87 in the capacity of 
an independent observer with the help of 
a leading UK-based non-govemmental 
organisation called the International 
Working Group on Indigenous Affairs 
(IWGIA). It is believed that Mowu 
established “informal contacts” at Gene- 
va, who promised to help him out in 
ftiture with funds, propaganda expertise, 
and “other necessary support for your 
goals”. The decisions taken at the work- 
ing group meeting were reported by 
Mowu to Phizo. the president of Naga 
National Council, in London. 

I ndian intelligence agencies, who have 
been very tight-lipped about Mowu's 
disappearance from the country so far, 

17 


tUNOAV jMHMiy 1960 



jnSuroenct 


If you pkK NGEf's growth curve. youTl find thac Itt 
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IhoSMrltloofSIlvir 

After 2 S years of enierpnse. NCEF underlines IIS 
whfiGlbgKaftoacfcrship. ihai^ 

iviodem. progressive, cprnpeutive and 
casf 4 ffiective. 

WHhsophisiicaied technology inputs from AEGA 6 
of West Qermary. SACE of Italy and TOSHIBA of 
Japan, youll continue to see a tot more of NOCF 

NGfF— Povm avitha Orlw 

A IOC has happened at NGEF. over the last two 
gdecades and more. 

Vto have diversifieci aciiveies extended |.voduci 
lines and gained a new perspective m systems 
engineering 

Today the Compariy is recognised for ns turnkey 
capabilities in areas beyond the scope of power 
engineering. 

So If you tWnlc we’re only into motors, see whac 
ybufemisswig 

V Mrlbiitlon Tranctormars 

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«iMaioMn*ar IlMcior Coolam Pump* 
kiNudMrPotMrliaWm __ _ 

• poDwr 0*ui Mik I tiii^iwnfn —W®*** 

■acMM Nwwr MMtNtan. IlWrtMpr 


. Wc Furnace Tiamtonrrer 


mm 



I Meclwifn VoXage C wuit Breaicn^J 




MigrtUolugr 

eefrusemducPonMoiDt ^ 


Post Bag No 3876 . Byappanahaili Post 
Bangalore-S 60036 


are a worried lot 
ITiey have reports 
that front organisa- 
tions of the Pakistani 
intelligence outfit, 
the Intcr-Services 
Intelligence Directo- 
rate (ISID), in Lon- 
don are regularly in 
touch with Mowu. 

An effort to form a 
common front 
against New Delhi on 
foreign soil is being 
actively considered, 
almost on the lines of 
the ‘'joint command" 
formed by Muivah in 
the Burmese junides 
withNaga, Manipuri, 

Assamese and other 

di^ (FiwiiWI)M«»wuAn9« 
bels. What IS dB- 

turbing IS that 
powerful Sikh finan- 
ciers may be behind , 

such a move. 

Mowu is presently 
concentrating on 

propaganda. Repro- 0X|IIOIwpO9iRMMllli 

ductkm o{ liis inter- |ndintllldh(b0tllllM 

view with Michael j mm ItpiftMT 

Fathers of^ Un- 

don-based TTie /ncfe- NSCNcMity IMRfMOnt 

wasa^B- MuMh 

out in Nagaland. 1 ne 
"general” is said to ^ . 

have persuaded Jag)it Singh Chauhan, 
tlie Khatistani leader, to visit China to 
elicit Beijing’s support for the proposed 
“front of oppressed nationalities in the 
Indian sub-continent". China incidentally 
already backs Muivah's “joint aimmand” 
functioning from the Burmese jungles. 

According to confidential information 
now available with Indian agencies, the 
Sikh extremist leader, Jagjit Singh 
Chaulian, visited China and stayed in the 
country for four weeks in Octo^r- 
November 1987. What he achieved is 
not known. But what is weB known is 
that Chauhan, on his return to London 
said that he was "very optimistic” about 
his China visit. 

Mowu is no stranger to Chira. He, 
along with the present NSCN chw- 
man" Isaac CWst Swu, h^ W tte 
second batch of China-bound reWs m 
the late Sixties. In a rearguard action he 
took active part in countering the Bur- 
mese army detachments on his way lack 
to India.. He sBpped past the Indiw 
armo '*• iOrces massed on the Nagatena- 
,Bunnese border to forestall his entry, 
i But luck ran out on the tall “general . 

was betrayed by a splinter 

of Serna guerrillas. After five 




(F«milbll)lfcHifuAng«»I.Jig|RSIi^ 


years in Mawlai prison, Shillong, Mowu 
Angami was released in general amnesty 
announced for Naga underground pns- 
oners in the wake of the Shillong 
Accord, 1975. . 

ITiough the government tried to 
Mowu over with lavish rehabilitation 
benefits, he steadfasUy remained Uiie to 
his goal of uniting the two warrmg 
groups of Naga rebels, split after the 
SiiUong Accord. “We must undo India s 
game of divide-and-rule.” he had said, 
when founding the Naga National Work- 
ers Conference (NNWC), an outfit com- 
mitted to bring about unity between the 
(Voltes and the NSCN, who have 
fought bloody intemedne battles in this 
decade 

Given Muivah’s insistence that umty 
“between revolutionary patriots M 
reactionary traitors” is not possible, 
Mowu and his friends may be up against 
a difficult task. Muivah commands the 
guns in the Naga insurgency theatre and 
wants things his way. But Mowu could 
have achieved what was hitherto consi* 
dered impossible: he mi^t have dcrtie 
the spadework for a common anti-Indian 
front on foreign soil, that could cause 
concemto^w^Di^in future. 


18 



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insisted that his escorts leave the pre- 
mises. The life and safety of the guest 
are the host’s concern. The visitor, who 
had called to announce hjs ehgagement 
to Benazir Bhutto, receive^ his first 
lesson in the life and manned of the Sind 
sodety^a chivalry code called a Dintter 
of honour. The highest praise reseived 
for a Sindhi is to be called ^'honourable". 
Benazir's young fiance did a; dishonour- 
able act because it was natural and, 
therefore, honourable for the host to 
protect his guests. 

That was not the only feather Asif Ali, 
heir to the 60,000-strong Zardari clan, 
ruffled to win the hand of young Benazir. 
The Zardari clan does not belong to the 
upper crust of the Sind aristocracy. The 
establishment could have forgiven the 
Bhuttos for the family’s efforts to intro- 
duce radical enlightenment.But to marry 
below one's social rank is unforgivable. 
Life at the top does not permit any 
forbearance. First the breeding, then 
the bearing. Benazir belongs to 
Karachi’s best and the brightest brigade 
(she has been to both Oxford and 
Berkeleyjwhilcpoor Asif is listed in the 
official wedding press kit as being a mere 
"student at London's Centre for Econo- 
mic and Political Studies". (There is a 
fine distinction, between ^milar sounding 
academic bodies, a fact which West 
Bengal's Honourable Member fnim the 
Jadavpur Lok Sabha constituency. Miss 
Mamata Baneijee. had discovefed'to her 
chagrin.) 

The marriage and his resulting star- 
dom were not society’s first introduction 
to the man from Baluchistan. In Karachi, 
his salad days had been spent with more 
than normal youthful headiness, the 
proverbial wild oats being sown in 
generous proportions. Stories of drunk- 
en brawls and pistol fights soon became 
part of the cocktail-circuit lore, Accord- 
ing to gossip, Asif s not^ety r^eached 
such dizzy heights that people actually 
began to avoid him. Ii> desperation he is 
said to have built a discotheque^ in his 
family lodging at Karachi's Eutopean- 
Indian Line (the name is an oddity that 
Islamization has overlooked) to win 
friends who otherwise would not have 
been tempted to walk jpto the parlour. 
One young socialite,, one New Year's 
Eve, found to her horror sbm<» fifty 
guards sporting: Ninja costumes and 
Kalashnikov weapons lining the passage- 
way leading to the discotheque. !(alash- 
nikov-wielding Sindhi ^Ninjas was one 
gimniick that even RiSin Run Shaw, the 
l^eat master of the martial arts fflms, 
had not been able to dream up. Asif 
dismisses such stories as "hj^y ex- 


aggerated". The official press kit notes 
that the "past is die past'^ 

The face had launched a hundred 
movements, the mind had fought a 
hundred battles. So what made Benazir 
decide to marry? And why Asif? Mar- 
riage was never part of her plans. About 
eight months back 1 asked her if she 
planned to get married. She laughed and 
said that she "had not so much time to 
think it over". Though changing her 
mind is a woman's prerogative, more 
than a fair share of eyebrows were 
raised when Begum Bhutto found an 
interlude in her convalescence to abrupt- 
ly announce the engagement of her 
daughter. Quite unnecessarily, say Be- 
nazir’s friends. Whatever her standing 
as a politician, Benazir is a woman. She 
is 34 and she is attractive. What is 
wrong in wanting to get married (Hema 
wanted it. Zeenat wanted it. and even 
Kekha is said to want it)? Or even in 



wanting a child? The sensible Begum 
Bhutto had always insisted on an heii 
(the Bhutto family estate is amongst the 
richest in the realm) and has even 
advised her head-strong daughter to 
start a family immediately. 

And Asif? Benazir confesses that 
"courtship is difficult for people in public 
limelight", and observes pointedly, 
"(courtship) is difficult in a dictatorship". 
(Whatever else she can hardly be ac- 
cused of is wasting an opportunity to 
snipe at the General.) But Asif was not 
the first prospective husband that her 
mother suggested ("Death or imprison- 
ment precluded marriage earlier"). Be- 
nazir opted for an arranged marriage 
(see box) because she "is very much 


> 




BsnszIrBhirttowithAalf Zardari during their •ngagement: *courtahlpladlffleuir 


Karachi rumour 
has it that Benaidr has 
had a nose job. If rile 
has to maintain hw 
public adulatkm and 
keep a husband, known 
for his wiki ways, in line 
rile needs more than 
cosmetic surgery 


part of the East despite (the) Western 
education". 

Benazir met Asif five days before the 
engagement and concluded that "the 
possibility of survival are better" be- 
cause "expectations in an arranged nwr- | 
riage are less". On the other hand Asif, 
Allah bless him, did hear a lot about 
Benazir and was duly impressed by her 
courage ("1 was inspired by the thought 
of a lone woman defying the dictator"). 
He informed his lather of his "wish and 
desire” who .saw no reason to object 
to his son's "views on whom he chooses 
to marry” ("I do everything my son 
asks of me”.) The spectre of being called 
"Mr Benazir Bhutto” does not haunt 


23 


Benazir’s appeal Is to a dlfferem layer of aodety. Her inirty 




Asif ‘ I hat s» their problem he shi u^s 
not mine ' Bena/ir houevet is not 
prepared to set her husband in a Dennis 
lliatcher rolt He has his own idtnli 
ty she says it is not dependent on 
mine I he Urdu edition of Ptnate I ve 
may not be on the dn\il but satinsts are 
sharpening their talligtaphic quills in 
antuipation Sample effoit Who is Iht 
ptarson most likely to suiceed Shafiqa 
/w, the tirst Lady of Pakistan*' Ansi^tr 
Why, Asif /ardan, of course 

S ome in Pakistan suggest that the 
choice of gloom may have been 
political Asif AJi comes from Baluchis 


tan one part of the country where his 
family in law s name is not exactly popu 
lar Bhutto pert not the ffls as Prime 
Minister unleashed a reign of terror to 
subdue the Baluch rebellion Radical 
Pakistanis compaie tins with Siddhartha 
ShankarRay shaiidling of the Naxalban 
insuigenty Ihe marriage is. therefore 
seen as a kind of sop- an act of peace on 
behalf of the ambitious Bhutto family 
Benazir s father in law Hakim All 7ar 
din is in his riwn n^t an influential 
political figuie in Baluchistan Karachi 
polite society still hasnt got over the 
fact that he insists on calling his eleitoral 
domain his consequency" But he does 


have his own little pohtical niche 
Reasons enough^ No it is not so replies 
an angry Hakim It is a traditional 
marriage he insists *when two fanu* 
lies decide that two persons are suitable 
to spend the ir life together ' But wait, 
even he admits that the clan * feels a 
sense of loyalty and honour towards Ms 
Bhutto ' He IS even prepared to “advise 
his daughter in law ’ though the two 
have their separate progiammes and 
policies As for her becoming Prime 
Minister^ She is young, she is strong, 
she can fight why not^ 

Ihe other suggestion is that Benazir 
in opting for a traditional marriage is 


Marriage without love 


O urs IS 4 traditional marriage m 
the sense that it is an arranged 
one That does not surpnse most of 
my friends m England and the States 
because they knew I always had a 
strong Eastern side 
It IS also a personal statement 
which I hope help women and 
families in Pakistan 


So there will be no dowry from the 
bnde Many women are unable to 
marry because the demands made on 
their families foi a dowry are so high 
Brides wear seven sets of jewel- 
lery by tradition 1 shall wear only 
one A bride’s arms are usually 
weighed down with gold bangles but 
1 shall have only six and wear glass 
ban^es between, so that people wdl 
say that if Benazir can wear ^ss on 
her wedding day, so can their 
daughter 

A groom normallv presents from 
21 to 51 dresses hut I shall have only 
two 


I have not given myself away with 
this ceremony I beheve in my own 
sense of identity and always shag 
My values do not depend on my 
husband or anyone else 
You are yourself and you remain 
faithful to It, which IS why I'm not 
dunging m> name Benazir Bhutto 
Witt not cease to exist because she li 
married 

Then I am asked But what abmt 
love^ Well, I was always trughtw 


By Benaair Bhutto 


your bfe for ever 

U someone is good to you, you 
respond and become fond at a per- 
son, then you come to have a 
steaddy growing reapect for him 

It IS true that 1 hardly know 
Asif. We have not yet been ahme 
together That is what trachtion de- 
mands 

I am told that when we were 
chddren we used to go to the cmenu 
together often to see previews of 
fibns 

My mother says I am nurrymg 
him because I turned down flat an the 
five or aoc other people she proposed 
tome, but when It ewne to Aait I 
thought about it for five or aa days 

So you see, I did have a power of 
veto 

He » bemg very dear and protec- 
tive and wiD, I bekeve, gwe me the 
support, I need to carry on my 
potmcal career. We have very dear 
arrangements over thw. 

But he bdres a very strong posi- 
tion too. He aays he wiD talk openly 
about Ins oonstnidion busmeas or 
hs prdo or ha own mtereats, blit wiB 
not be Interviewed aa ^ bWlMnd of 
Benaav Knitto 

We duB not go on boneymoon, 
although ^ la a nofinai Bung to do 
here, iw«|me I have toomudi to do 


my elders that love com > aftm: >. 
marruge What 1 find is that witp w ^ * 
arranged marriage there » a ruoralu 
tonmutment You know you gl^ 
marrying someone who wiU be f jf 



luallytomiare the tone Weahal 
sUto a new house of ooi 
get to know each ofiiei 

khe two chddren ideally, 


t' 


but after losing my own younger 
brother (Shahnawaa was poison^ 
two years ago m France) I w^ 
hate to thmk at one bemg left a kme 
chdd if something haimened to the 
other 

So 1 thmk 1 would settle ftir fiiree. 
Asif wants lots Fnaids tefi me a 
sure-fire way to get an earfy election 
would be to get pregnaift 
I expect 1 shaK try before the day 
isout I suppose bndes are expected 
to do that anyway 
Asif understands Why politics n so 



to V 


24 



'Joio 


making an effort to gain support from 
those who feel she is too Westernised. 
The Sindhi orthodoxy has the fear of the 
unknown. Their worst nightmare came 
true when Zulfiqar with the banner of 
peace and process worsted them thor- 
oughly. Tradition dies hard, specially in 
Sind, and when the tide turned Bhutto 
spent the next five years trying to make 
peace with the establishment, llie prop- 
onent of this thesis, a prominent mem- 
ber of the Sind Assembly, arises that 
the establishment will not permit itself to 
be caught unawares again.lt is wary of 
anj^hing radical and the prospect of a 
solitary woman riding the crest is novel 


important to me and why 1 have to 
fight. He win support me and 1 hope 
bring another dimension into my 
lile-^e into which I hope 1 can 
relax, 

1 need that too. On balance, 1 think 
it .win be an rii^t 



if not revolutionary; Benazir, clearly 
playing for the long shot, is using her 
marriage to disarm the orthodox. (Peo- 
ple's Party insiders claim that she has 
already moderated her stance on land 
reform and nationalisation.) Reasons 
enough? Benazir avoids a direct answer 
and smiles to say that she has never 
looked at it this way". Marriage and 
family, she claims, a Httle unconvincing- 
ly, "are too personal and too precious a 
matter to barter away", in any case with 
the popularity of the People's Party, she 
argues, she does not need to marry to 
win votes and finally resorts to the usual 
Zia-baiting; "‘What we need instead is 


The joke maldiig 
the rounds is that the 
crafty Gennal in 
Islamabad win can for 
elections as soon as the 
Qiaiipeison becomes 
an expectant mother. 
But those who know 
Benazir weU vouchsafe 
that she could stni 
turn die tables on 
Um 


free and fair election." 

Marriage and family could be precious 
but hardly personal. At the Awami 
Wedding (two receptions were held 
after the nikaah ceremony: one, near 
her home, to appease the elite; the 
other, at amaidan, to woo the masses) 
in front of a hundred thousand-odd 
crowd, her friends began the evening 
with a song; 

Benazir will be our leader 
She will be mine too (voice mimicking 
the groom) 

Benazir will serve the people 
/ will supjMrt her 
Benazir will do politics 
I will gfit the Z^dari votes 
You will do no politics 
I win look after the children 
Benazir wiD go to jail 
/ will come into the held 
Benazir will wear Awami dress 
So wilt I 

You will not fall off the horses 
I won't, / will make Zia fall 
These seven conditions of marriage* 
known as Saath Sharait, a part of the 
mairiage contract, were sung in public. 
For Benazir this was a pubUc commit- 
ment to the cause and a gentle hint to 
her husband: please know your place, do 
not try to overstep. 

Such public humiliation would have 
driven most men to suidde or divorce 
but Asif All seemed to bear it with 
nonchalance. Rather, the show of pro- 
test came firom Benazir. During the 
mehendi ceremony the bride's friends 
and sisters usually tease the groom with 
songs of gentle humour to 1^ liven up 
the atmosphere. But the anti-Asif refrain 
in the music got so^out of hand that at 
one stage Benazir was forced to leave 
her seat. She returned only after her 
friends promised to restrain themselves. 
The song which earned Benazir's ire 
said that the groom would stay in the 
house and wa^ clothes. She may have 
winced at the tastelessness of it all but 
she deady wanted the message driven 
home. When I wished her she intro- 
duced me to her fiance and asked me if 
Indian marries were similar. Then, 
without waiting for a reply, added im- 
pishly: "Oh, did you hear tl»t song about 
Asif?" 

Asif also did not help matters with his 
remembrance of things past. At one 
stage during the mehendi he got up to 
dan^. In polite society, at least in the 


25 



men rarely cbuice— almost never mony. Invitations to the wedding were 
in public. (Dance in India was for the issu^ in the name of Begum Nusrat Ali 

homosexuals the lowly classes till Bhutto — an unheard of event in a male- 

Lucknow's Wajid Ali Shah, hiniself repu- dominated society. Petty quarrels, some 
ted to be bi-sexual, promoted it to merit dating back ten-odd years, were not 
iq>p^ ^ss attention.) In Karachi the forgotten when invitation cards were 
distinction ratters. Immediately after issued. Newspapers critidal of her late 
the mehendi some Pakistani friends, also father were reminded of past misdo- 
acquaintances of Benazir, arranged for meanours by being kept out of the 
us an evening entertainment of Sufi invitees’ list. Guests were asked to 
folk-<toces. When most of us were carry their invitations which, thou^ 
sufficiently inebriated, the host began to necessary, were regarded as an affrxmt 

take the liberty of asking the guests to by Karachi society. Ail the guests at the 

psurtidpate. 1 declined politely. But my wedding made it a point to praise Begum 
Siiulhi neighbour's refusal made the Bhutto, her dignity and re^ bearing, an 
point in no uncertain terms. He merely indirect way of suggesting what her 
raised his eyes and muttered: ”Do you daughter was not. 
want to leave?” 

Like a Hmdu suttee Benazir has kept lA^t she is, however, is her own 
pace with her husband in ruffling sod^ WW person, lliis chit of a girl who 
feathers. The code of honour, so knpor- took charge of Uie People's Party amidst 
tant in a feudal society, seems to have the gloom of a personal tragedy shocked 
been broken over and over again. What- her friends by replacing her faUier’s men 

ever else, the late Zuffiqar i\li gras with per^osis of her choke. In a sense 

coiisidiT^-d honourable. Not so, . wQuId ' this was inevitd^le. Mrs Indira Gandhi 
appear, his daughter. The head of 0 the saime when she came to power. 

Bhutto tribe was stridently ignoredk-ep A Gandhi after her. But Rajiv 

much so that cousin Mumtaz Ali publicly desiDhawans and Mukher- 

stayed away from the wedding* cere- . ^'■djBlith Weatem-educated Aruns and 


Aiyers. Benazir has done the reverse. 
The upper-class bom-to-privilege politi- 
cians were replaced with down-to-earth 
sons and daughters of the soil. One such 
person is Tikka Khan. The former 
General of the Pakistan Army and the 
man who earned the epithet 'Butcher of 
Bangla' stood proud and erect at the 
wedding function. ("This is the first 
happy day in the femily in the past ten 
years.”) There was no hint or regret for 
misdeeds of yesteryear , **lf i was 
there, instead of General Niazi,” he said 
brashly, "the PakistanArmy would never 
have surrendered.” But the clock has 
turned. He is now up against his own 
former colleagues. He takes some com- 
fort in the fact that Haseena— <lau^ter 
of his former bete noire— is also fighting 
an army rule. In her choice of advisers 
as in her choice of husband, Benazir is 
out to prove that she is not merely her 
father’s daughter. 

The conflict is more than one between 
ways of life. Benazir’s appeal is to a 
different layer of society. Her party is 
known as a party for the poor and she 
could not care less what ^e privileged 
think of her. The singing, dancing crowd 
that gathered in front of her house 
everyday during the wedding week was 
proof enou^ of the affection and loyalty 
she evokes in her people. More than any 
other politician, perhaps more than her 
father as well, she has roots and a style 
that would be immediately imderstood 
by a visitor from India. As many as a 
hundred thousand gathered to welcome 
her in what her party caUed the “ Awami” 
wedding. There were songs and slo- 
gans. g!in-shots and rosesr— but not the 
tell-tale sign of "trucks”— that sub- 
crintinental symbol of organised audi- 
ence. What was there was the extra 
magic — what journalists and politicians 
call charisma. Outside the wedduig pre- 
mises the crowd had to be lathi-d^ged 
and teargassed. Inside, the very mem- 
bers of the society who sneered at the 
match fell over one another to have 
themselves photographed with her. 

In some ways Benazir is also a victim 
of her own image. A young girl, just past 
her teens, bom to wealth and fame, 
educated at the best universities in the 
world, returns home to find her father 
hang to death. She spends seven out of 
the next nine years in jail, mostly in 
solitary detention. Her brother dies in 
myst^ous circumstances, her mother 
is afflicted with cancer. But she does not 
give up. Single-handedly she picks up 
her father's fonnidable political machin- 
ery and battles a ruthless military rule. 



26 




/U1 by herself. C'lt is a duty.”) It is this 
image that causes worry— for her 
friends* for her party. Will the people 
accept her in the role of a wife? Will they 
accept her as a mother? She has been 
cast in the mould of an Islamic Durga. 
But then, thwgh the goddess was 
married and even had children, she had 
only to kill demons and not win elec- 
tions. Marriage, conventional wisdom 
has it. has never done the celebrity 
woman much good. The vast pantheon 
of screen goddesses have always striven 
hard to keep marriage and career, like 
the State and the Church, apart. When 
Rekha married Vinod Mehra, a not yet 
successful fellow-actor, she escaped all 
the way to Calcutta to keep the event 
under wraps. Hema Malini and Zeenat 
Aman tied their wedding knots only after 
their careers had peaked. 

Benazir herself has no manner of 
doubt that marriage will not affect her 
political life. Politics, she says, is com- 
mitment to a cause and claims that her 
husband “understood and accepted it 
fully”. Fortunately, her husband agrees 
with “her (political) commitment”. 
Though she will not be able to give much 
time to her home he “will manage”. 
They are both educated, however 
education may be interpret^, and will 
“find a via media” which should not 
prove difficult since he only “wants to 
protect her and not compete with her”. 
Begum Bhutto was certain that marriage 
wiU give Benazir “extra confidence in 
her work” specially “on her political 
tours”, though how this confidence will 
be earned is difficult to predict since Asif 
maintains he will not accompany his wife 
on her political travels. 

Marriage also means raising a family. 
Begum Bhutto would like her daughter 
to start having children immediately. 
Asif says “it is all in God’s hand”, while 
Benazir does not appear to be keen to 
start a family rifi^taway. Not before 
1990 j she told the Washington Post 
rather cheerfully. While Asif would pre- 
fer a houseful of children, Benazir says 
she wants about three. Even two will 
do..The third, like that advocated in the 
now discontinued slog^ of India’s fami- 
ly planning ministry, is for exigencies. 
Given the upbeat nu^ in Kara^ even 
children are not seen as a handicap. The 
joke mal^ theroundsis that the crafty 
General in Islamabad will call for elec- 
tions as soon as the Chairperson becom- 
es an expectant mother. But those who 
know Benazir well vouchsafe that she 
could still turn the tables on him. In fact, 
predicts a PPP official, a pregnant Be- 



nazir in maternity suits will be a more 
potent threat than one in slim salwar. 

Her friends say that strains are inevit- 
able in such a mamage. If they are right 
the ensuing pul^dty may not be good 
for her. Indim Gandhi’s marriage also 
collapsed but that was another era. In 
^ose genteel times neither politics nor 
journalism were what they are today. 
Already her opponents are using the 
occasion to say that she has changed. In 
the past Benazir was frequently com- 
pared to Mrs Aquino. And she made no 
effort to hide her views on the housewife 
from Manila. (“She is one great lady”.) 


Aquino is a particularly good role model 
because this Filipino's spartan lifestyle 
and sacrifices make her an endearing 
example. 

But the ostentation and the spending 
of a Sindhi wedding has led her critics to 
say that she is no longer Pakistan's 
Aquino but P^stan’s Lady Diana. The 
reference to England’s future Queen is 
doubly meaning. The Princess of 
Wales is notorious for her spending 
sprees. The British media have even 
suggested that the royal marriage may 
be breaking down. But can Asian leaders 
afford a Dafias-type soap opera on their 
domestic life printed on the front pages? 
Her critics have already geared up for 
action. The Aquino/Diana syndrome has 
made it to the Pakistani press. The 
state-owned Pakistan Times merely 
sin^e columned the wedding on an 
inside page while the main item on that 
page screamed: “Whites only press 
conference by Bena^’. The reference 
was to a press coikerence— the only 
one— which Benazir addressed on the 
occasion of her marriage. Unfortunately 
the press conference was limited to 
visiting correspondents and her staff, by 



accident or by design, interpreted the 
word foreign to mean whites. 

In 1976 the then Prime Minister of 
Pakistan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, legislated 
to limit wedding expenditures to five 
thousand rupees. That Act is still in 
vogue. Yet fier own constituency— the 
wretched of the Pakistani earth— would 
have been most unhappy if her late 
father’s will were to be followed for all 


seasons. During the wedding week 
truckloads of young arrived daily in 
Karachi— almost all from the villages. 
They sang and danced in front of her 
house with uninhibited joy. As in Gwa- 
lior, people in Karachi rejoiced at their 
leader’s wedding. But was it wise? After 
all, the public mood changes and often. 
Like weather, joy is oft converted to 
sorrow. Can those who claim to do 
“people’s politics" afford a public display 
of pomp? Benazir has been lucky so far 
but the Scindia example is too close to 
home for comfort. 

Karachi rumour has it that Benazir has 
had a nose job. If she has to maintain her 
public adulation and keep a husband, 
known for his wild ways, in line she 
needs more than cosmetic surgery. She^ 
once told me that she preferrec* a 
marriage contract which would say what 
happens if the marriage fails. “The 
wors4,” she said, “should be anticipated 
with the best.” Karachi society has 
written the marriage off even before the 
Nikaah. In politics she has demonstrated 
her ability to surprise and survive. Can 
she do it in her personal life? 

AvMk Saricar In Hanehl 



Banuir Bhutto a PPP moafliio: young and strong 


27 



COVER STORY 

THE VOID AFTER 

M.G. Ramachandran strode like a colossus on 

December, 1987. WiU the AIADMK split over the 
succession issue? Is the Congress{l) trying to get a 
toehold in Tamil Nadu? 




H e survived two attempts on 
his fife, a cataclysmic brain 
stroke, and two successive 
renal collapses. In the 136 
films in which he acted, he 
was seldom shown dead. But when his 
body was lowered in ^the sands of 
Madras' Marina Beach on 25 December, 
interred in a six-and-a-hatf feet by two 
feet casket made of sandalwood, the 
moment had the unmistakable impress 
of showbiz. It was as if the ji;rand finale 
were beinf; played out to any of his 
movie extravaganzas. 

Marudur Gopala Menon Ramachan- 
dran, affectionately called MGR by his 
ten million fans worldwide, and worship- 
ped as Puratchi'fhalaivar (Revolutionary 
Hero), miglit have been incapacitated 
long since with age and ague, but so 
overwhelming was his sheer physical 
presence to Tamil Nadu’s 4.5 crore 
people nobody dared ask in public; after 
MGR, who? So profound was the peo- 
ple’s confidence in him that he conjured 
up in many of them intimations of 
personal immortality-— of his whispered 
capacity to rule the state as its chief 
minister for a thousand years. He died 
afflicted with terminal sickness, his lone 
kidney revolting every fortnight and his 
heart and brain suffering from chronic 
and precarious circulatory insufficiency. 
In the last three years of his life, Ms 
speech was a mere jumble of incompre- 
hensible sounds while his writing fingers 
skidded helplessly on paper. Yet he left a 
void that milli^ms of Tamils felt deep 
within. 

On 23 December, Ramachandran had 
spent a relatively restfiil day in his 
residential quarters on the second floor 
of his private villa, Ramavaram Gardens, 
on the outskirts of the city. At 1 pm, 
transport minister S. Muthuswamy had 
visited his house, mainly to discuss the 
traffic arrangements for the President of 
India, R. Venkataraman’s visit to Mad- 
ras the following day. Ramachandran had 
spoken to Muthuswamy over the inter- 
com system, a familiar device with which 
he communicated to most of the visi- 
tors since his cerebral stroke in 1984. 
“He sounded noimai,” Muthuswamy, 
the last ofikial caller-on. remembers. 
The chief minister had his fhigal dinner 
at 10 at night and went to sleep with the 
monitoring units strapped on to him, a 
regimen strictly followed since his ill- 
ness. 

However, at 1 am, Babu, the medical 
technician on night duty, was jolted out 
of stupor as he saw the ECG curve on 
the monitor dangerously flattening out. 
M* Subramaniam, RaiT.achandran’s per- 
sonal physician wIk> had afLcompanied 
him to Downstate Medical Centre in 


New York, USA in last July, drove up to 
Ramavaram Gardens within 15 niinutes, 
followed by an army of seven doctors, 
including M. V. Girinath, the famed heart 
surgeon of Apollo Hospital, 'fhey tried 
to revive him. but. according to one of 
the doctors, “The pulse was non- 
existent.’’ When Ramachandran was 
pronounced dead at 3 am. the political 
crowd had not yet converged on his 
sprawling garden house, set amid rolling 
greens. V.N. Janaki, his wife, and Ravi, 
his adopted son. sobbed convulsively by 
the side of his bed. In the confusion of 
the moment, nobtxly had noticed the 
significance of the day, 24 December. 
On the same day 14 years ago. Penyar 
E.V. Ramaswamy, Raniacliandran's 
political mentor and founder of the 
Dravida Kazhagham. the organisation 
that spawned the Dravida Munnetra 
Kazha^am (DMK) and the ruling All 



Suppoitart ol lha AIADMK mourn tha daath 
ofthatrlaadar 


India Anna Dravida Munnetra 
Kazhagham (AIADMK), had died. 

Even as the sky was dark on tliat 
fateful morning, S.L. Khurana, the 
Tamil Nadu Governor, drove into 
Ramachandran’s residence in his 
limousine and was immediately in touch 
with 5, Race Course Road, the official 
residence of Prime Minister Rajiv Gan- 
dhi in the capital, on the hotline. Though 
what transpired in their talks is not 
known, the message spread among 
snoozy and dazed AIADMK legislators 
(131 sans Ramachandran in a house of 
246), many of whom had turned up at 
the crack of dawn, that Delhi favoured 
finance minister and No. 2 in the cabinet, 
V.R. Nedunchezhiyan, as the interim 
chief minister. At 7.45 am, the new 
Cabinet, with neither any inclusion to 
nor any exclusion from the old Cabinet, 
was sworn in at the Raj Bhavan under 
Nedunchezhiyan. Hut while the 
government w.is going through the mo- 
tions ordained by the Constitution, the 
dty, and the state, were waking up to 


0 


IUNMV»-0JWuiry1988 


29 



COVER STOilY 


In the confusion of the moment, nobody had noticed the 
significance of the day, 24 December. On the same day 14 years 
ago, Periyar E.V. Ramaswamy, Ramachandran’s political mentor 
and the founder of the Dravida Kazhagham, the organisation that 
spawned the DMK and the ruling AIADMK, had died 



the traumatic reality of the absence of 
MGR 

Traumaticr-yet not without the hooli- 
ganistic edge that accompanies all out- 
bursts of mob frenzy. By 9 am, crowds 
comprising genuine mourners as well as 
violent rioters had taken over all impor- 
tant intersections along the km 
stretch of the arterial Mou -. Koad, 
renamed Anna Salai. While the va Kk^ 
surged down the road, wielding casoari' 
na poles and smashing windowpanes of 


shops on the main street with stones, 
the body of Ramachandran, placed in a 
special cortege, was brought to Rajaji 
Hall, in the downtown area. For the 
ensuing 36 hours, it was a free for all in 
Madras with all vehicles going off the 
roads, trains and flights being cancelled' 
and shops getting looted. Yet the death 
had as frenetic but genuinely-felt after- 
^math. At Vengamedu near Kanir, Karu- 
jQaji|^vi^33, committed suicide in the 
after lighting camphor in front 


of an MGR portrait. In the East Gate 
area of Tiruchi, Arulanandham, a 12- 
year-old boy, hanged himself to death 
soon after hearing the news on All India 
Radio. In Bombay’s.Dharavi, reputedly 
Asia's largest slum, 25 Tamilians shaved 
their heads moments after hearing the 
news and took out a silent procession. 

Though the scene was surcharged 
with tragedy, there was no respite from 
politics. Up front on the list conten- 
ders for cMef ministership were: R.M. 
Veerappan, the local administration 
minister, and Ramachandran’s associate 
in film business for 20 years, Jayalalitha, 
the 37-year-old Tamil screen siren and 
propagpda secretary of the AIADMK 
who, till as late as three months ago, 
dominated Ramachandran's personal life 
as well as the hierarchy of the party, 
Nedunchezhiyan himself, a crusty old 
warrior who had shouldered the respon- 
sibility of 'acting' chief ministership since 
as early as 1%9, when chief minister 
C.N. Annadurai had died and Panrutti S. 
Ramachandran, the pro-Congress(l) 
food minister in the MGR cabinet, who, 
for a couple of years now, had acquired 
the reputation of being the dark horse 
poised to upstage others. 

Waiting at the wings was the Con- 
gress(l), a powerful section of which 
saw in the death of Ramachandran’ a 
golden opportunity to worm its way back 
into chief ministership: the party was 
routed out of power way back in 1%7 by 
the Tamil-separatist DMK tidal wave, 
when Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi air- 
dashed to Madras in the morning to pay 
his homage to the departed chief minis- 
ter, both AIADMK and Congress(I) 
cirdes were anxious to know what, 
strategy he would adopt for his party. S.' 
Ramachandran, supposedly closest t6> 
Rajiv in the AIADMK hierarchy, re- 
portedly got the impression that the 
Prime Minister would let his party go 
along with whoever was chosen the 
leader. But two of the Congress(l) party 
heavyweights — All India Congrqssd) 
Committee (AICC-I) general secretaiy 
G. K. Moopanar and minister of state for 
internal security P. Chidambaram**- 
stayed back in Madras for t)ie state 
funeral on 24 December. Actually they 
were drawing up a strategy for the 
revival of the Congressd) in Tan^ 

(Continued on - page^ 


30 





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rOVKK STORY 


Though the scene was surcharged with tragedy, there was no 
respite from politics. Up front on the list of contenders for chief 
ministership were: R.M. Veerappan, Jayaialitha, Nedunchezhiyan 
himself and S. Ramachandran, who had acquired the reputation of 
heihg the dark horse poised to upstage others 



An AIADMK pgrty wofligf talnlg tfiHlng ttw touQ umR oiilaldg Ralap Hull 


Nadu. Even while Ramachandran’s body 
was being laid to rest in the Marina 
Sands in front of a million people, 
Moopanar began a closed-door meetir^ 
of Congressmen loyal to him in his 
permanent ‘suite at Swagath Hotel in the 
Poyapettiah area of the city. He left for 
the capital in the evening, but, within 
hours, his followers were outlining a 
distinct course of action: an interim 
government headed by Nedunchezhiyan 
for a few months^subsequent Assembly 
elections; and, if the Congress(I)- 
AlADMK alliance obtained a comfort- 
able majority, Moopanar himself could 
take over as the state's first Congress 
chief minister in two decades. 

Within the AIADMK, however, the 
bitter internecine war, kept under the 
carpet as long as Ramachandran was 
alive, threatened to come out in public 
glare. It began in the early hours when 
Jayaialitha, on hearing the news of her 
leader’s death, reached Ramavaram 
Gardens in her white Contessa. By 
then, however, Veerappan and his men 
had taken control of the house. They 
slammed shut the iron gate on Jayala- 
litha's car — for the first time, since her 
romantic alliance with the matinee idol 
came to be widely known 17 years ago. 
Jayaialitha knocked so hard at the iron 
railings that — in her own words— *‘my 
right hand got swollen and turned blue". 
FinaUy, when she managed to enter the 
building, Janaki finnly closed the bed- 
rbocn door despite another bout of 
knocking by her. As she w^dered about 
the labyrinthine corridors of the man- 
sion, dressed in a white sari bordered 
with the party’s trademark red and 
black, Veerappan and his aides had 
already put the body in the cortege. 
Jayakflitha rushed back, and what fol- 
lowed could only be the stuff of Frank 
Capra's satirica] comedy Meet John 
Doe,\ As Jayalalitha’u car chased the 
cortege, seemin^y stunt^riving police 
}eept tried tc nose between the two 
vehicjles. At Rqjqji Half, Jayaialitha dis- 
played a keen acrobatic skill as she 
elbowed past Veerappan’s men, all 
spe^ying venom at her, and got herself 
post^ near- the head of the late chief 
ikiinipter. She stood on her feet for 13 
hours at a stretch despite menacing 
advances by feet-atampera. * 


T he ugly incident a day later (see 
box)t v/hen Jayaialitha was roughed 
up by pro- Veerappan MLA, K.p. Rama- 
lingam, and D^-^eian, the actor-nephew 
of Janaki, no douot had more emotional 
than political overtones. But it was also 
in keeping with the overall . mood of 
anarchy that had gripped Madras. At 
Marina Beach itself, the burial <like his 
guru, C.N. AnnaduraS, Ramachandran 
was not cremated) was followed by an 
unprecedented scene of chaos in which 
four people died in police firing.' A very 
special target of mob fiiry was the large 
statue on Mount Road of M. Kanina- 
nidhi, the DMK supremo and Ramachan- 
dran’s arch-rival for 15 years. Sur- 
rounded by cheering AIADMK crowds, 
three young men began working on the 
statue with crowbark, hacking it down 
up to knees. Rickshaws, the only con- 
veyance on the roads, were often charg- 
ing Rs 50 for pedalling down the distance 
of only a kilometre. Some private cars 
had their windsMeld smashed' for not 
sporting the obligatory black flag. Some 
unwary pedestrians were worked over 
by ba^street goons for the offence of 
lighting cigarettes— a gesture inter- 
preted as a mark of disrespect to the 
departed leader. However, the same 
hoodlums were seen looting liquor shops 
on and around Mount Road, carting 
away hundreds of crates of booze. 


However, as Madras became normal 
by 26 December, politics was back with 
a vengeance. The first move was made, 
expectedly, by Veerappan whose follow- 
ers put a register book on a table at the 
entrance ofhis double-storeyed house in 
Madras' T. Nagar area. Ostensibly, the 
register was meant for collecting signa- 
tures for a condolence re.solution. liut 
only party MLAs were asked to sign on 
it. By the evening, the city was agog 
with rumours that each signatory to tlie 
'register' was being presented with a 
potalam, or a gift bag. Assessments 
varied on the contents of the potalam, 
but Veerappan's followers, in a mere 
day's effort, had collected as many as 82 
signatures. "They (the MLAs) are all 
mourning the death of our beloved 
leader," Veerappan told Sunday. But 
the MLAs trooping out of his house 
wore an oddly satisfied look. They were 
specially shepherded by law minister C. 
Ponnaiyan, Veerappan's right-hand man 
who is nick-named in party circles, 
maybe for his height, as KuUa Nan 
(Short Fox). 

Veerappan’s move naturally stirred a 
homet’s nest, particularly in the rival 
camps of S. Ramachandran and jayaia- 
litha who were working virtually in 
tandem. S. Ramachandran, the coolest 
of the lot, reportedly sent word to 
Veerappan that his efforts to rally party 

33 



MLAs might be counter-productive in 
the fong run because even if the latter 
secured the support of 80-odd MLAs he 
I would still require 40 more to form a 
stable government. 

But a vertical split in the party could 
only hasten the electionsp due only in 
1989. And, despite the wave of loyalty 
demonstrated by the Tamil people to 
Ramachandran. the electoral wind is not 
exactly blowing in favour of the ruling 
AlADMK. Last year, in a surprise turn 
of the table, DMK had swept 64 of the 
97 municipal seats and over 48 per cent 
of the panchayat samithis, leaving ^li- 
tical analysts wondering about MGR's 
fading glitter. 

S. Ramachandran had also sent feel- 
ers to Jayalalitha, yet another claimant to 
the chief ministerial chair, that instead of 
pressing her candidature too hard she ! 
should support the continuance of 
Nedunchezhiyan for some time until an 
alternative arrangement is made. “You 
are young enough to wait" the message 
reportedly read. As the new week 
begun, the race began to get more or 
less limited to two: Nedunchezhiyan. 
backed by the ^status quo’ lobby which 
argued that his choice alone could avert 
a split in the party and Veerappan, the 
manipulator par excellence, the ace up 
whose sleeve was indeed his long and 
close association with MGR and his wife, 
Janaki. The association was further 
cemented in the evening of MGR's life, 
following a brief misunderstanding be- 
tween the two, when the Ramachan- 
drans became convinced of Veerappan’s 
worth as a trusted lieutenant. Veerap- 
pan had been dropped from the ministry 
in October 1986. But, last November, 
soon after Ramachandran returned from 
the United States, so keen was he to 
reinduct Veera()pan into the Cabinet that 
he beseeched Governor Khurana to 
swear him in instantly. Since the Gov- 
ernor had suffered a fracture and could 
not attend office. Veerappan was sworn 
in. at the chief minister's insistence, in 
the former's bedrcwim. 

For a while, however, Nedun- 
chezhiyan and his influential wife, Visha- 
lakshi, distanced themselves from parly 
circles. But the acting chief minister’s 
claim to the throne was being cham- 
pioned by S. Ramachandran. with Jayala- 
litha too, slowly drifting towards this 
camp. Notably, none of them could pull it 
off on his or her own strength. But S. 
Ramachandran. the GO-year-old food 
minister, who is an engineer and J^s a 
reputation for being an able ad liffistia- 
tor, had a convincing argument. He toKi 
Sunday: After Anna's death in IMf, 
the DMK unfortunately split. But we 
don’t want the AlADMK to split. If 


Veerappan forces his way, there is a 
danger of the party splitting, which again 
will be an insult to the memory of MGR. 
Only Nedunchezhiyan's continuance till 
the elections can head off a split, be- 
cause it is MGR who had chosen him as 
No. 2." 


Veerappan not only edged past Nedun- 
chezhiyan but inexorably increased his 
lead. Soon after the burial of MGR was 
over, he began an evening practice of 
getting into a huddle witn his follower- 
MLAs at one of the many 61m studios in 
Madras where his writ runs. And, the 
wily politician that Veerappan is, he also 


However, as the week wore on. 


MGR's women 

A mong the many ironies of 
MGR's life is his transformation 
from a dmnw troifoe actor playing 
fominine roles to the most macho 
man of the Tamfl screen. By the time 
MGR burst into stardom with 
man in 1947, the foir-skinned effe- 
minate boy had vanished. And. in the 
next few years die metamorphosis 
was complete with MGR becoming a 
symbol of manhood and a darling of 
millions of cinema-going Tamil 
women. But the ultimate irony lay in 
the way MGR, who rose to be the 
most powerfol figure of Tamil Nadu 
politics, succumbed to the two 
women in his fifo: Janaki and jayala- 
litha. 

Who these two women were to 
MGR is, paradoxicaBy, a little diffi- 
cult to define. Janaki, who lived with 
MGR in his palatial Ramavaram Gar- 
dens residence, was considered by 
townspeople to be his official wife. 
'Ihe rural masses, on the other hand, 
accepted Jayalalitha as their super- 
hero’s wife and called her Anni 
(meaning dder brother’s wife). Both 
women claim to be officially married 
to MGR, both are former actresses 
and both are Iyengar Brahmins. But 
all this apart, th^e is very little 
similarity between the two— the sa- 
lient point of their relationship is an 
intense mutual hatred that dates 
back to more than two decades ago. 
And the last few years of MGR's fife 
were increasinidy conditioned by the 
conflict between the housewifely 
Janaki and the politically ambitious 
Jayalalitha. As MGR’s grip on life, 
politics and the Tamil Nadu adminis- 
tration foltered, foUowing the stroke 
he suffered in 1984, the battle be- 
tween his two women became 
pivotaf in the state's conspiratorial 
politics. Information minister K.M. 
Veerappan shared Janaki’s dislike for 
Jayal^ha and her unabashed ambi- 
tk^isr Fearing that he would ulti- 
mately be manouvered by Jayalalitha, 
wfatpyas busy building a mass base 
J>jS^iQugh her fan chibs and . the 


AlADMK organi^tion with MGR's 
blessings, Veerappan colluded with 
Janaki to prepare a scheme for her 
downfoll. When MGR went abroad 
for medical treatment, Janaki accom- 
panied him. Veerappan, in the mean- 
while, began putting up posters of 
MGR wi^ Janaki. It was the first 
time that Janaki was projected as 
MGR's wife. 

When MGR and Janaki returned to 
Madras, Veerappan began using 
Janaki in two ways. At one level, he 
persuaded her to intervene in admi- 
nistrative decisions, manipulating 
officials in his favour. MGR’s unusual 
advertisement in the press in July, 
1986, warning that his “relatives” 
should not interfere in government 
functioning, appears to have been 
directed against the Janaki- 
Veerappan combine. At another level 
Janaki began influencing her hus- 
band, portraying Jayalalitha as a 
political upstart bent on ultimately 
upstaging her mentor. MGR's reluct- 
ance to help Jayalalitha after she had 
been stripped of tlie posts of deputy 
leader of the AlADMK Parliamen- 
tary' Party and party propaganda 
secretary is attributed to Janaki’s 
influence. But Jayalalitha, after seven 
long months got the better of MGR 
and was finally brought back as 
propaganda secretary. Janaki is be- 
lieved to have intervened again when 
Veerappan was dropped from the 
state cabinet and position as infornfii- 
tion minister. Janaki put pressure 
and waited to see him reinstated. 
ITie Governor,^ S.L. Khurana. who 
wasindisposedat the time wanted the 
swearing-in to be postponed. At 
MGR’s insistence, Khurana made 
Veerappan take the fonnal oath in 
the gubernatorial bedroom. 

For the last three years of his life. 
MGR see-sawed between the con- 
flicting demands of his two ladies. 
And the ladies themselves constantly 
fuelled their mutual hostility. Why 
MGR tolerated their unconcealed 
machinatkins is difficult to explain. 
Especially, since MGR was only too 
used to women fighting over him. 
More than in the filmworld, it was 


34 




realised that the need of the hour was to 
build bridj;es, wherever possible, with 
his rivals. As eariy as Sunday^27 Decern* 
ber, he despatched minister Ponnaiyan 
to Jayalalitha's house. Ponnaiyan's brief 
was not only to hold out the oUve branch 
but to tett her clearly that her interests 
would be “looked after” in a new dis- 



Thshmwllh JaMM(lop)«idJ«y«lallitui 


the women of Tamil Nadu who 
thirsted for their god*Kke hero. Can- 
ny MGR fan club organisers would 
prepare mattresses pasted with life 
size cutout of MGK and hire it out to 
viSage women for a rupee a night. 
Women hungered for every bit of 
him-— at one time the remnants of 
the soda that MGR drank at public 
meetings would be sought out by 
women. A clever organiser decided 
to s^ead the good stuff around by 
pouruig Soda tasted by MGR into a 
farge drum of water so that the 
vi9&ge women could later be distri- 
thimblefulis of this pntsadah?. 

His fans similarly marvelled at his 
capacity to attract the most beautiful 
of actresses. MGR began hLs long 
'association with women by marrying 
a<ftress , Sathanandadevi in 1942. 
Both his first wife and his second 


SUMOAV» -0Jimjiry 1966 


wife, Amu, are lost to public mem- 
ory: both having died shortly after 
their weddings. MGR's other women 
included the famed Sarpja Devi, who 
initially acted only emposite MGR but 
ultimately drifted away and moved to 
Bangalore. His other and inuch shor- 
ter associations were with actresses 
Lata and Manjula. But among all the 
women, only two were destined to 
survive his affections. 

l*he first was Janaki, who came 
into his life in the late 1940's when 
she was working with Jupiter Films 
as a monthly-rated artist and MGR 
was with Modem Theatres at 
Coimbatore. Theii* affair reached 
consummation in 1950 with MGR 
arrat^ng to have her cast* opposite 
him in the movie Maruthanattu Ila- 
varas/ {Princess of Marutha). Janaki, 
who was at that time married to 
stageactor Ganapathy Bhat, de- 
serted her husband and moved in 
with MGR. She gave up acting and . 
became the perfect housewife. 

This arrang€|ptt ntwas irrevocably 
shattered aftei Jjyalalitha entered 
MGR's Kfe, starring opposite him in 
her first fibn AyimthH Oruvan (One 
Man in a Thousand) in 1965. MGR 
was so enamoured by this young 
beauty that he took to life with 
him and Janaki moved out, taking up 
residence with MGR's older brother 
Chakr^ni. k'dr the next years, 
Jayalafitha luxurrated in Ramavararn 
Gardens — she ultimately went on to 
star opposite him in more than 25 
films. But the tables turned. in 1972 
when the fickle MGR was persuaded 
by his older brothei^ Udee hack 
Janaki and pu^i oMt J^lalitha. who, 
on the rebbiihd had a iting with 
Teliigu actor Shoban Babu. The next 
upturn in Jayalafitha’s fortunes came 
in 1977 when MGR repprt^^ mar- 
ried her in the Mookamb^ Temple 
in Karnataka.' Jayalalitha ftiaintaineda 
separate heskiente while Janaki ruled 
in Ramavararn Gardei^ MGR had j 
mana^ to retain both women but 
was destined to suffer their undying 
bittemdas till the very end of his 
. legendary life. 

^ Ail'— *. ^ 

iHQfMwwpiPfl'i e 


roVKK STORY 


pensation under Veerappan, it was a 
logical move from Veerappan's angle. 
Just as S. Ramachandran had pointed 
out, Veerappan too could not afford to 
bear the responsibility of having caused 
a split in the party. “The people wiU tear 
us to pieces if that happens. It'll be 
inviting the DMK on a red carpet” said a 


The wily politician I 
that Veerappan is, 
he realised that the i 
need of the hour j 

was to build bridges | 
with his rivals. On 
27 December he 
despatched 
minister Ponnaiyan 
to Jayalalitha*s 
touse ! 


Veerappan enthusiast. 

As the cool December air of Madras* 
grew thick with reports of hush-hush 
parleys, two clear alternatives emerged 
from a welter of names: Nedun- 
efaezhiyan and Veerappan. If selected, 
Nedunchezhiyan, the 67-year-old 
seniormost member of the MGR 
Cabinet, can at'last change his image of a 
baby-sitter. As the number two man in 1 
the Aimadund g^emment he became | 
interim chief minister way back in 1969, I 
after Anna's death, and remained so for | 
a few days until Kanuianidhi's election as j 
the chief minister. Later on, after joining ; 
MGR's Cabinet as finance minister, he I 
kept the chief minister’s seat warm j 
whenever his leader had gone on long , 
leave for treatment **MGR was an | 
astute politidan,’' says the editor of an i 
influent d^ in Madras, “he saw in ; 
Nedunchezhiyan the quality of a perfect ; 
doormat a supine general who would 
not stage a coup when the emperor is 
away.” 

S. Ramachandran now argues that 
Nedunchezhiyan is a “cap^le adminis- 
tratoi'', which, at any rate, is a debat- 
able point, and says, “Who knows he 
may be a good permanent chief miiiis- 
ter.” But that’s pep talk. If the mantle of 
chief ministership finally goes to Nedun- 
chezhiyan, and if Veerappan too agrees 
to the arrangement, then both S. • 
Ramachandran and Veerappan will be \ 
the backseat drivers, Nedunchezhiyan j 
having little following in the party or j 

36 



As Jayalalitha*s car chased the cortege, seemingly stunt-driving 
police jeeps tried to nose between the two vehicles. At Rajaji Hall, 
Jayalalitha displayed a keen acrobatic skill as she elbowed past 
Veerappan’s men, all spewing venom at her, and got herself 
posted near the head of the late chief minister. She stood on her 
feet for 13 hours at a stretch... 




«nong the MLAs. But Veerappan as 
chtef minister is a force, perhaps the 
only force in the AIADMK, to reckon 
with. Says a former chief secretary of 
the state: *‘R. M. Veerapppi combines 
the cunning of latter-^y p^tks with the 
old fire of the DK era. While Tanrutti' 
Ramadiandran is an equally capable 
administrator (as Veerappanis), Veerap- 
pan operates on all fronts-^bureaucra- 
tk, political, social. And, he is a man 
whom Delhi cannot take for grated." 

Veerappan is now so determined to 
stake his claim to chief ministership that 
he. deliberately fudges his views on 
long-term issues. On the Sri Lanka 
policy, as well as on the vexed problem 
of Ta^ Nadu's tardy economic growth 



(the state slid back fitim third positm 
13th position in ten years), Veerappan 
now maintains a diplomatic silence, 
merely saying that “MGR’s polides wiD 
continue". But, in his bid for power, he 
is more than inclined to pull out all the 
stops. In order to bolster his thum, he 
was trying to prop up MGR's widow' 
Janaki, his consistent well-wishen as the 
chief of AIADMK. Two of V.'sflppan’a 
men, party assistant general 
S. Raghavanandam and treasmt 
Madhavan, went to Ramavaram Gar- 
dens and requested the lady in white, 


36 


who had never shown interest in poli- 
tics, to lead the party. The obvious 
rider: if Janki leads the j^y, Veerappan 
will lead the government. 

In the fren^c race for chief minis- 
tership, many in the AIADMK overkxik 
the strategic advantages of Jayalalitha, 
MGR's co-star in 25 films, who done can 
vibe with the masses. Her staunch 
followers in the Legislature Party may 
not exceed 20, but she is keenly aware 
of her mesmeric hold over party work- 
ers as well as people. Talking to news- 
men, she said: *1'm not a paiticularly 
important person in the party hierarchy. 
I'm only fi^ if you go by the leadersldp 
structure. But the mk and file wish me 
well. They hzve been visiting me in this 


hour of moumirg. Particularly women 
have been coming to me in droves." 
Though she never stated it in words, 
she left no one in doubt that she too 
would not hesitate to join the fi:ay, when 
duty calls, of course. Right now, Jayala- 
litha is lying low because she knows that 
she can prove her mettle only at the 
hustings and not in the battle of back- 
room intrigues where ministries are 
made and unmade through machination 
and MLAs are bought and sold like used 
garments at the flea market. 

"But Jayalalitha," admits a senior 
(Congressman from Tamil Nadu, “is an 
unstoppable force at the elections. After 
MGR, she alone has an electric appeal." 
MGR had cooled off towards her at a 


Woman wylfw on ilw sliasia of Madm 



SUNOAVS-^JwiMiyim 


later stage. But so what? After reinstat- 
ing her as the propaganda secretary' in 
1^, he did not remove her from that 
seat. She may be somewhat tongue- 
tied, fluttering lier eyelashes and bash- 
fully reading out from prepared 
speeches on the few occasions that she 
had been on her feet in the Rajya Sabha. 
But wasn't MGR too a poor orator 
except when he hammed his way on the 
silver screen? At a ripe, if not plump, 37, 
time is on her side. To shrewd Veerap- 
pan, Jayalalitha alone is the strategic 
enemy. Nedundiezhiyan is only tactical 

C ome wliat may, and who may, to 
Fort St. George, the seat of power 
in Madras, the disappearance of MGR in 
his weO-known dark glasses and fiir cup 
is fraught with the possibility of far- 
reaching consequences. For MGR, de- 
spite his bumbling ways, and limited 
capacity for governance, was no ordin- 
ary chief minister. He embodied a strong 
sobering influence on the nascent Tamil 
sub-nationalism. an(f was, in the words 
of Manian, editor of Idayam magazine, 
“like a thin film of oil spread on the 
churning ocean of sentiments". His long 
stay in the DMK, from 1954, when he 
came under the spell of rebel-atheist 





<’nVKKSTOKY 



(From toft) Voorappon, Jaytlalltha and Nadunehtzhlyan 


E.V. Ramaswamy and hypnotising ora- 
tor Annadurai, till 1972, when he broke 
away to form his own Anna DMK 
(renamed AlADMK during the 
Emergency), was marked by a rigorous 
avoidance of secessionism as a creed. 
After 1972, he took on the remnants of 
the DMK, and made virtual mincemeat 
of Karunanidhi, not just because of the 
personal rancour betweei^him and his 
old scriptwriter-associate but because 
his soul rebelled against the DMK's 
cocoonist approach. He used his sub- 
stantial following among the masses not 
only to cut Karunanidhi down in size by 
several pegs, but to make the DMK 
philosophy irrelevant. 

Perhaps nobody felt his absence more 
keenly than Po'. le Minister Rajiv Gandhi 
when the deaih in sleep occuned,barely 
36 hours after the two had appeared 
together in public. “He saw unity of India 
as rooted in the heart of other Indians,” 
the Prime Minister said, “stretching 
back for thousands of years throu^ 
history, to the very beginning of our 
civilisation.'’ Rajiv’s words, like those 
after the death of Sant Longowal (“Here 
gMs a man of peace’’), were imbued 
with a tragic sense of emptiness. To 
Rajiv, MGR was not only a bulwark 
against the DMK’s adventurist politics 
but idso the cornerstone of his con- 
troversial Sri Laikka policy. A close aide 
of the Prime Minister admitted; “The 
whole business of getting Indian soldiers 
to take on the Tan^ Tigers in Jaffra may 
look ridiculous to other Indians; but, as 
long as MGR was there, it had a certain 
legitimacy in the eyes of Tamils, on both 
sides of die Palk Strait. ’’ Can it epjoy the 
same legitimacy now? “Let's see,’’ he 
said. But few had any doubt that there 
was none left in the AlADMK who could 
address the Tamil millions from a moral 
pedestal and make them ^dly swallow 
the bitter pill 

MGR could pun it off because of his 
unquestionable charisma, in which the 


sflver screen had only but played a part 
But, unlike N.T. Rama R^o of Andhra 
Pradesh, he was not a screen god 
back-projected on to the political scene. 
His larger-than-life, heroic roles in films 
were an instrument for projecting the 
values that were to become the main- 
stay of his poBtics. When he made the 
transition fi^ Puratchi Nadigar (Re- 
volutionary Actor) to Puratchi Tfrala/var, 
it was but a short step. But his ensuing 
career in politics was also marked by the 
same moral concern. Philanthropy, 
abstinence, and identification with the 

S. Ramachandran 
had sent feelers to 
Jayalalitha, another 
claimant to the | 
chief ministerial i 
chair, that instead j 
of pressing her j 
candidature too 
hard she should 
support the 
continuance of 
Nedunchezhiyan 

i I 

poor. These concerns were part-naive, ! 
part-romantic, and maybe militated | 
against his private ljfestyle--opulent, | 
bourgeois, hliertarian. But the perceived j 
image of the man was different. 

In the urban areas of Tamil Nadu, | 
inteDectual opinion invariably revolts | 
against MGR’s brand of simplistic ideolo- i 
gy, summed up in his highly successful | 
early film, Natkxk) Manim (llie Vaga- 
bond King)-*e melodramatic tale of 
salvation through sacrifice. But the 

“37 


ailNDAV»«9 Jammy 1968 



Tfe lost tiger 


Jkiwa and Thambi. Tamil Nadu 
m tniete f M.G. Raitiachan' 
drai^ $nd LTTB supreme comman- 
der Velupilba PirabhiJctfan. The old- 
o( thim had been the rebel with a 
jcause, for 25 years-^-before the arc 
though.' The youn^r one too 
w been a rebel, but in real life, 

■ from one hideout to another, 
being constantly on the run, and 
often celebrating a dose escape from 
’ the Sri Lankan security forces with 
an ecstatic burst of gun^ in the sky. 
They could have been inhabitants of 
different planets, but they were 
strange friends like in Steven Spiel- 
berg's E. T, When Anna died on 24 
' De^mber, Thambi received the 
measage withiii hours on his exclu- 
sive radio set— tucked away in his 
Mdeout, irotucally. from the electro- 
nic eyes of the Indian Peace Keeping 
Forces (IPKF) in the Vadamarachi 
area of Jafoia in Sri Lanka's northern 
province. Before the transmitter said 
'Roger', the air-waves were filled 
with an uncontrollable sob. 

To PSrabhakaran, away and on the 
looae m Sd Lanka, and tus 2,500 
ourvivirig LTTE cadres, the death of 
MCiR was like a bereavement in the 
foniily. It spread a pall of gk)om on 
llie alls of iNirM on Marina ■sadi 


the row of ei^t '^e houses' on 
Fourth Street in Madras' Indfra 
Nagar^ where a skeleton presence of 
. the LTTE is still housed, thanks to 
MGR's deep personal commitment to 
the Tigers. The only difference evi- 
dent in the past few days is the 
menadng police cordon around the 
colony, foe sudden non-availability ci 
the omnipresent 'contacts' who were 
always wiOing to lead mediamen to 
LTTE 'sources', and the virtually 
contagious sickness of the telephone 
lines installed in the houses. Howev- 
er, in one of the Christian homes on 
Fourth Street, not one cross was on 
display nor was a cake baked. 

The LTTE leadership still wel- 
comed the press, though question- 
answer sessions were out, and writ- 
ten questionnaires had to be deli- 
vered days in advance, to be smug- 
gled back into visiting journalists' 
hotel rooms by discreet couriers. 
Two days alter MGR's death, Britisfo 
Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) got 
an interview tape which one of the 
LTTE generals smuggled out 
through such means. Time followed 
suit. Sunday too found its question- 
naire, addressed to a former Ja^ 
commander, answered as follows: 

Sunday: How i$ MGR*b death 
going to affect the Eelam cauee? 

Answer: MGR was a strong sup- 
porter of foe Eelam cause, he put his 


scnilmtoit We expect his stipiforters 
t o foBo w Ins pallt He hadhd^ the 
LTTE both openly aiml ooveith^ aiiM 
extern^ pressure. ' 

With gtm in inHa 

dead now, udU gm not End gear 
bargaining power with DettU 
uhderminedT 

U is too early to judge. Well hhve 
to wait , and see. 

How Mendig woe MGR wm 
iho LTTE ao a group and 
Pirabhakamn a$ a peroonT 

About Pirabhakaran, he done b 
the fittest person to answer. As for 
as the LTTE is concerned, MGR was 
an enthusbstic supporter of foe 
cause. A whole-hearted support 
too. He always went out of his way to 
support the Tigers without e3q>ectmg 
any political or personal gain. 

After MGR, who are the lead*- 
ere in Tamil Nadu who will 
champion your cauee? 

Of course there are people. But 
we can't name them. 

Do you think MGWe death wUi 
pueh you eo much to the waii that 
gott^U be farced to agree to a 
ceoeedre? 

No way. Nothing can stop u$ or 
frustrate us. 

Woe MGR trying to preeeuriee 
Rajiv Gandhi to change hie Sri 
Lanka poitcy? 

He was tring to put pressure on 
Rqjiv Gandhi to hdt the military 




jnatb/tmvMdiirtiigKUtu’i 
(mHnitr Jtmm emmmukr) hut 
hmthit vilth MGR? 

IQtttt iMt MGR on 28 and 29 
Niwed^. iQttu toU Urn thtt the 
- LTTE'itis’ipniiMred to hand over its 
iMapoml ' and airport the India-Sri 
Lann aaootd provided the IPKF 
ifithdtew to its position on 10 Octo- 
ber, that ia, when the fi^iting had 
begun, Kittu told him that the IPKP 
una in evm village and road now and 
were raping indisaiminately, killing 
and bot^ So he wanted the IPKF 
to go back to its original position, and 
we wanted the Government of India 
to assure us through MGR. 


IFAem wvMj/mWte to be the 
next chief miiUeter of Tamil 
tfaduF^VeerappoH, Janakt, S. 
RmadumdroH, JayalaUtha or 
' Nedmched^/an} 

No comment. 

The IPKF datme It U in con- 
trol of the eituaUoH and the 
TamOe eagport them. KoHr com- 
mentef 

They QPKP) have more than 
60,000 troops in Jafhia, as against a 
population of 8.5 lakhs. About 4.5 
laldi people have left their homes in 
Jafbia after die IPKF operations. The 
IPKF is now in each and every part of 
Jaffiia, but we're guerilla fighters. We 
know how to harass them— by 
ambush, sniping, landmining, laying 
bool^'traps. But unfortunately they 
kBI innocent civilians. We launch 
attacks on them in retaliation. With 
IPKF soldiers aD around them, how 
do you expect ordinaty civilians to 
say that they’re not wiA the IPKF? 
That’s wi^ die international press 
was not allowed to w(»k indepen- 
dendy. 


hit a hut that a large number 
of LTTB eatboe do not want 
armed eon&ontatlon to eon- 
ttnuef 

TotaDy fidse. All of us are commit- 
ted to our cause— vdiidi is Eelam. 


WRI netrietlono on LTTE be 
it^lhr tu. Tamil Itodu after 
^•e ^hathf 

IQtttt, Rahkn and Castro are imdei 
bouse arrest for the past two-and-a- 
haV months. Even the pofice did not 
dbw them to place a wreath on 
MGR’s body. 



-oo 

viNnivpMnyif 


MGR could spread his aura among the 
poor not by any well-thought-out plans 
but through tangible acts of altruism 
denounced by economists. Nevertheless, 
these acts got him votes at the polls 


urban elite had never been his consti- 
tuency. On the other hand, he could 
spread his aura among the poor not by 
any well-thought out plans but through 
tactile acts of altruism denounced by 
economists. Nevertheless, these acts 
got him votes at the polls. Crucial among 
his relief measures was the mid-day 
meal scheme, announced on 1 July 1982, 
which covert 8.5 million school chil- 
dren and cost the exchequer Rs 200 
crores annually. Even though it amelio- 
rated hunger only marginally, its symbo- 
lic value was never lost on. the poor 
people. Equally box-office oriented were 
the AlADMK government's other char- 
ity schemes: an insurance scheme for 
hmdless workers which fetched each 
widow Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 depending 
on her needs, free supp^ df toodipow- 
der to school children, fret chapp^ to 
poor women, and even free plastic 
buckets for carrying water to poor 
femilies in Madias, a dty of chronic 
water shortage. 

All these, ai'«d grandiose projects that 
did not take offi such as a Rs 150 dole for 
each pregnant women in the state, came 
in handy to MGR not for their true worth 
but for what they were perceived to be. 
A highly critical study of the mid-day 
meal scheme by the London School of 
Hygiene and Tropical Medicine pomted 
out that the annual loss on the highly 
cost-inefficient project amounted to a 
tenth of the state's budget and equiva- 
lent to the state electricity board's 
current account deficit On oter fronts, 
the MGR government was generally 
lack-histre, with virtually aU the growth 
indicators of the state failing to keep 
pace with the past So disastrous was its 
performance in etectridty generation— 
with the shortfafl averaging at 40 per 
cent— that it once prompted journalist 
Cho Ramaswamy to comment: "MGR's 
government is like his films: they are 
best seen in darkened environments." 

But MGR's achievement was political, 
neither fiscal nor administrative, h the 
ten years that he wielded power, his 
vice-like grip over the mii^ of the 
masses had never slackened, barring 
reverses in the 1980 parliamentary polls 
when he was— contrary to his self- 
interest— in affianoe with Charan Singh. 


h 1984, while he was away in the United 
States, undergoing a kidney transplant 
and get^ treated for his cerebral 
stroke, his party could easily romp home 
to victory. So total was the people's 
confidence in him'thi^t nobody ques- 
tioned his prolonged absence from 
office, speech impairment, imperious 
ways, inept file work and mercurial 
teinp^. With MGR around, and on its 
right side, the Centre could take any 



liberty with regard to either the broad 
Tamfl aspirations or the Sri Lankan 
question. With MGR gone, it has to 
watch its st^. 

Its immediate fallout will be a sure 
stalemate in New Delhi's handling of the 
Sri Lanka situation, with the liberation 
Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the 
most hardcore of the Tand activists in 
the island nation, feeling orphaned (see 
box) and hardening their stance. For 
over four years now, Vehipillai Pirabha- 
karan, tlie LTTE Irader, was Thambi 
(younger brother) to Aim MGR. Living 
in a protected house in the Indira Nagar 
area of Madras, Pirabhakaran was a 
constant visitor to MGR's house, a 
privilege denied even to senior ministers 
like Nedunchezhiyan. In the LTTE 
bo^, many of whmn are wedded to the 
principles of abstinence and self- 
sacrifice, MGR perhaps saw the embodi- 


•UNDAY3-<«JinuwylM8 


38 



COVKR STORY 


In MGR’s absence, Rajiv will soon have to find out a buffer 
between him and the Tamil Tigers, a *ref eree’ to the game who 
can exercise moral authority on both sides. Jayewardene is 
anathema to the LTTE, and has forfeited the right to play the 
referee. President R. Venkataraman of India is too far removed 

from the scene 


SM 


ment of the lofty dreams he had peddled 
In his films-~dreams that are liable to 
crack into fra^ents on their first con- 
tact with reality. 

In ordering the Indian Peace Keeping 
Force (IPKF) to take on the recalcitrant 
LTTE elements, the Rajiv government 
obviously took shelter bdund the moun- 
tain of affection between the Tigers and 
MGR. But, interestingly, the Centre 
could not take MGR for granted. Last 
October, while the Prime Minister was 
in Vancouver for the Commonwealth 
Summit, he sent an emissary to MGR at 
Baitiinore, in the suburbs of Wash^on 
DC,, where he was then. The emissary 
was tdd to persuade MGR to is sue a 
statement condemning the LTTE. But 
MGR did not oblige. Five days later, he 
was stiff and fonnal when he arrived at 
the Washington hotel, where a reception 
was on in the honour of the Indian Prime 
Minister. He spent barely five minutes 
at the reception, politely turned down 
the Prime Minister's offer to sit, and, 
next day, refused even to return to India 
in the prime ministerial aircraft. H e was 
oppos^ to the wild ways of the LTTE. 
At the same time, he was never quite 
reconciled to the IPKF, an Indian force, 
hounding out the boys. Maybe in the 
evening of his life, he suffered finom a 
persistent dilemma, and he wished he 
had the answer. 

In MGR's absence, Rqjiv will soon 
have to find out a buifer between hun 
and the LTTE, a 'referee' to the game 
who can exercise moral authority on 
both sides. Sri Lanka's President , J.R . 
Jayewardene, is anathema to the LTTE, 
and has therefore forfeited the right to 
play the referee. R. Venkatanonan, 
President of India, is too far removed 
from the scene and is seated on too 
hallowed a constitutional chair to have 
ai^ nexus with the army of cyanide-pill- 
wieldii^ teenagers fighting a blpody. 
battle in Jaffiia and the Eastern Province 
of Sri Lanka. Both Nedunchezhiyan and 
Veerappan are cast in the mould of 
crusty politicians, not statesmea^ and 
have little or no' link with the LITkk 
R ajiv's two men in Madras, Moc#i3ir 
and Chidambaram, are regarded by ibe 
Tigers as the former’s ioudspeakeri and. 


have no vibrant link with them, despite 
Chidambaram's repeated trips to the 
island. In fact many diplomatic analysts 
in Madras are now openly expressing 
their doubts about the Indo-Sri Lanka 
agreement — now that MGR is not 
there. 

Beyond the Tamil issue in Sri Lanka, 
there is also the question of the 
thwarted Tamil identity in the face of an 
increasing sense of north Indian domina- 
tion. Only four years ago, N.T. Rama 
Rao subtly cashed in on this sentiment, 
storming into power in Andhra Pradesh 
on the plea tl^t the Congressd) at the 
Centre had hurt Telugu atmagsuravam 
(self-pride). In nei^^t^ring iGmataka, 
^e victory of Ramakrishna Hegde's 
Janata Party was merely the flip-side of a 
massive reaction of the (^ngress(I), 
and its reprehensible local satrap, Gundu 
Rao. In 1987, even the Congressd) 
fortress in Kerala fell, with theMarxist- 
led Left Democratic Front (LDF) com- 
ing into power, and thus robbing the 
party at the Centre of all its footholds in 
the four southern states except a firiend- 
ly neighbourhood AlADMK government 
in Tamil Nadu. 


lfMiinnlrthl*a it— triMiart hv w nitala 



But Tamil Nadu's Dravida 'other- 
ism'— a term coined by Harvard 
sociologists in the Sixties— could be 
contain!^ only because of MGR’s deep 
sense of belonging to India, his personal 
antipathy to the old DMK cause, and his 
personal fealty to the Nehru-Gandhi 
family. At the unveilii^ of Nehru’s I 
statue two days before hte death, MGR 
took 12 minutes to read in his rfurred 
voice a speech of 46 sentences— 15 of 
which were devoted to the memory of 
his association with three generations of 
the family. While seeing off Rajiv at 
Meenambakkam airport, he was the last 
to go despite his vi^le physical discom- 
fort. As the Prime Minister was board- 
ing the aircraft, he repeatedly kissed his 
hand, as if driven by some premonition 
of death. 


Nedunchezhiyan, Veerappan or 
Jayalalitha— whoever wins the last round 
in the succession battle raging in the 
AlADMK today — will first have to 
address himself to the rising advances of 
the DMK, a personality-oriented inde- 
pendent regional party currently led by 
one of the astutest of the state's politi- 
cians, Karunanidhi. MGR had all along 
eclipsed Karunanidhi after having par^ 
company with him, heaping public ridi- 
cule on him, going about to smear his 
image. But can to successors in the 
AlADMK stem the ftiture DMK tide? 
Already, films scripted by Karunanidhi 
are at the top of the charts in Tamil 
Nadu. Pabuvana Rojakkal (Roses in the 
Desert), released in early 1986, is a 
parable of Karunanidhi's days in power 
it ran for months to packed auditoiia. 
NeedhScu Thsndanai (Punishment for 
/usricejis ano-hoids barred satire on the 
government with scathing criticism of 
MLAs. It too became so popular that 
MGR recently legislated a new Act to 
ban such themes firom the silver screen 
in future. 

Karunanidhi was the firstamongpoliti- 
dans to reach Ramavaram Gardm on 
the tra^ morning of 24 Deceniber, 
when his dear enemy lay dead in a bed. 
Could their eyes meet, throudi a glass 
daildy? 






Photographs: Tarapada Banefiee 


40 


7 






4’ r 


'j ilPil?.,!^ ^^ 


'>7,/ r--_7x' 


* ^Qp jm^^gi^^iiikiii JUlLk^dik JLi^ai 

' im? ifinii 

Involves the fiiqorass 

S. Muigaokar must tell us: Who wrote AePresidents dre^? 


TheiSgttItymidtbe&eedmoftbeB 
ttrnnmeiedipmthemomaaitMcc^^ 
kry poMm. To perfonn Its duties wftb inde- 
pendency md cmegueiUfy with die utmost 
ppbhc sdtmtsge, the Ptwss can enter into no 
time m bindbig sBianoea whh the statesmen of 
the day...' 

•^Tbe Times, London, 6 February, 1852 
\..A dktressmsiy large nundierm the 
skm are not even good profesami^ Many have 
incestuous rektkmai^ with their 8tdaect3--4i 
partiadar, wkb government authorities...' 
•--Arun Shourie, A code for die Press, India 
Today, 30 September, 1983 

O n 13 March last year, two events 
occurred, both pregnant with aignifi- 
cance. Both events involved the 
baban Eimress, both received de* 
tailed cooiment in the national 
ommient that was as misguided as it was 
tried to estab^ a connection 
between the two events: post hoc mgo propter 
hoc, it argued, seqpenoe therefore oonaequ- 
ence. Siooe tlm evidence has come to liflht^ 
evidence that was shown to and has been 
accepted hy ogrreBpon de nts of pr^iera tike tneha 
To^ and tlw Simdvr Observer-mat estab- 
IWtea dMK sna no Gtwaal oomeclian between 
the nso. Mon iMereatinv evidowe has leoent- 
ly oone to fitdit dint tliere was, faowem, 
tfudier oonaactioni As a iesidt,tlie aocosbig 
'feiir now poMs ip dm oppoito direcdoa: 
uwrtntd of the flrat event rh e trudi of 

dhe t)eionnd|tlwi second ia now the 

«rad> of thp fint 
For dwbsaedt of those wbo do not know: on 

DHB BhKBHjK be XO BHKCns BIB MMIUHBM mw^DKWp 

csnM tnits bad ps 0 s dw teat of the letter dw 
nepiasiw lUKi wncien w nm rnqie asBasier on y 

* W-* W- J-O- -S. 

■flJKun miE niB inwr vibq^ ni Mnunr. 

vHn'io jranmepio vine evenr* uner lonr nay, 
M a oast of taidi bekur foniktrtfd oh several 
fstsllijfoilt w t**** WQMSre Mr *GmMMBrttQfhi4 
me vflmat oiman ok m veaniMion 
FVtMS pMMt hoM St 130 Sander 
osoim evcoL On 18 Matdi the 

ff rf hi a fomit 

fstto ddtonlib 'It won't wtMh.w Most of the 

* s- — -- — A. aa^^ gJM 8h 

<1 CBK^BBW HfnllBH EDIC wL w^lM AHnBPwHPMBBfl 

b« ntdeds Dr the IF MtOh (Ws 



tnMMItttit 

on 1-^ Jl>„. A^Ji* 

hOIVMIOni n ine QralU 
Ml IIQf hMlWOlk Md 


JUA — M — ni — 

M IMrlllllBlllMlii 

tbillMuiie pliilnp e miiidi 

wnnoui gifiiB " 
bnmirtMni* K vAnot 

■■i|iin IMIMPVI mmwewmfmgm 

MrIi IQMNDIilim 

manMamannam lE m^HflndhX 

w nf IM08I1 II Ml HOI 

amIBaa Ela^A I lanenfa 

wniei MR I Mvo 
csnBNnkaidRtosiiF 
csl^ IQP viW tnd is)f pM 
SMtLMisiRicWai 
INr IMiMliMtil? 


issued on 12 Manfe. C nmnu s idii g on this, in 
diese oohmis I aeoiised the AmSb Fimeas of 
bring to its rsaden (Sunmv, 2t Mayl. TO dale, 
these has not been one word of apoiogy or 
rdwUaL (Thf tnie swtwtf of 
of the Sqpnsss can oniy be gniged tqr seesMig 
pravWont of the code ite edm-in-diief once 
urged upon ne: *V I am proven wrong I ahal 

at once and opemedmowiedin dm oior and 
auffiff such punWunent m wni oonsboe die 
reader that auSdent amende hes^ been made. *0 
Vh melter. Thidi, like murder, wb out dow 
dwuShite pr omem bo. OnPDeoanber, anodiar 



made thie dtaft ioteresdng were the oorrecdom 
made in die hand of Mr S. Mnlgnakar, foimeifr 
aditoc-hKhief of the JhiSm JSlgMess^ now cm- 
unnist and edhoiM adyiser to dm damnin of 
die fispeeae gn»b TU e riktfr -eod tbeae cor- 
rections would ehuoetoeitaMyheveieiiisiiied 
a secret were it net far the CM raid of 13 MuA 
br it wee durfag tfam mid that k was seised. 

In an soocmpanphig srtide in the Awt 1 
epeledoatmy coiiBepnopofidiatenews p iper 
ia, rather of what a newspaper isn't "Wiiat 




wonipw^fi^^v newipqpcr iroin^ « prapuiiiai 
BiMSQi $» flU MvcniBcineQC Kvcnure ib ici 
indepcnidMoe.fiMi those it mites hbovt 
Whimer Oeijt -be g overomrot, coquitat l on or 
theshrs :gr6u^” iater, 1 ranarked, ‘‘Whatever 
iMiipens ttqr must Jieiwoalhide vnth the actors 
apoB'ts&Ditt diqr ooniiieiit” 

Agrinir Aere ivas iwMwr apologr iKff idbi^ 
lidMS' a'iad, fimdiBng response by Ae senior 
atatmmw of Indtanjouiialsm. On 12 Oeoeiiiber 
the editaiiid page of the itadfan £iq»«ss earned 
an arme, “We Bve and we learn" whidi Mr 
MiiigBokar begm by saying he was “at a loss to 
undostand the interest dwwn by the journalistic 
fkatemity” in the "belated discovety of some 
amendations I had suggested in my own hand to 
* a draft <rf a letter the then President had asked a 
friend of mine to help with.” 

WeB, wdl, well 1 shall come to Mr Mul> 
gsokar's friends laten for (he moment I think it is 
i fifM that we diqiose of the otjectkai that this is 
a ‘Mated” discovery. True, itislate. Butbetter 
late than never. Especialiy sinoe there were 
journaEsts like Mr Mulgaokar who possessed 
first hand this information yet chose to conceal it 
from Ae puUic record. 


tniA to Aose vAo appwatiha d hhii; “Woiw iiaii 
:iiot sayfaig sO tUs to demoMAEMSiito yon 
actupidous regard for tniAiat gTAdida.Vln'' 
knew tH that time was that I <!0wti|St.h^ 
get away vriA a lie ta Ah maltm.” ;/ , 

Mow, vAy on eatA ahotdd ^jpwd Mr' 
Molgseto we even Aought of Am * Mv 
Woddng on the premises that Mr Mwgaokat: 
does not have a habitual canpuMon to-ttfi fist 
and Aat Mr MidgaolwsiirtW knows AatattuA 
is morally preferable to a lie, one can only 
condude that Mir MuIgsotaK's mind strayed 
toward the option of a lie because Aesb was 
sometlAig he would have prefAied to have 
concealed. What was that secret something? Mr 
Mutgaokar has told us that he vras "proud” to 
have been associated mA the Preeident's letter. 
Then what is one to make of his wQfiivness to 
ten a lie about that assodatkai, a wfflingiess 
checked only by the premise that his handwriting 
was known to “at least a hundred people A Delhi 
done’7 

That there was something m this a&ir that Mr 
Mulgaoluir was enAatiassed by is evident by the 
way m whidi he never once used Us access to 
columns of Ae fbdUn Exjmss to deefare Us 
interest m the matter, all the vAile commenting 
m the pubBcation on the President's troubled 
relationship wiA the Prime Minister. Forg^ for 
a moment, my principal daan that jourmfists if ' 
they are to be thouj^ of as journalists and not 
public servants must be mdeMxWnf ond never 
collude wiA those they comment upon. There 
are some vAo disagree. But there wU be none, I 
think, who will ifisagree wiA Ae wester cord- 
laiy that it is manifestly unfur to comment on a 
matter wi Aout reveafing your own mvolvement 
m the a&ir. 

Surely Mr Mu^Miar accepts Ae essential 
Uimess of this claim. Why, Am, did he behave 
m complete disregud of it? What was he hiding? 
He may say he was party to a secret The 
question is: vAy did he become party to sudi a 
secret that coroivomised boA his imifessiond- 
ism and Ms reputation for fairness? What was the 
pressing need? 

Diligent readers may note that 1 have de> 
scribed the latter daim as a weaker ooroQaiy of 
my prindpU clam. How ao? Because I beSeve 
my conception of journalism fiovro Awctly from 
tUs cart^ princq>le of frnmess. The lawyer 
AUd Setalvad was recently quoted A the bata 
Post making Ae latter weaker daim. We yuxo 
tok) he Ad not Asapprove of a newspaper'a 
Avohrement A events it commented upon pro- 
vided such Avdvement was Asdosed. A fUs 
there A no significaiit AScrence between Us 
position and mAe: Ae moment you AacAse your 
roA to the readers you cease to cdAde lor 
collusion is, by definititti, secret B I go <A to 
nudte greater demands on a ptofesaAnd it A 
because I believo-48 the Ameckan SocAly of 
Newspaper Editors does— AA not only A it 
important to be fur, it A important to be seen ta 
be fair. BA these refineiMiits await awAec 

Back to Mr MulgKikar, Either be does, not 
underatand such faasA.piAdpAs.or eAdlA,A, 


But I Adn t conceal it Mr Mulgaokar wA say, 

I told my friends about ft. A fact, he says just 
that. After teffing us that he sent word to Ae 
CBI ’unoffidany' that the oofiections were A Us 
Mtd, he tdb us “there were others who came 
to me A Ae same aAur. I told one and aB that it 
was my hanAwork and one or two newspqters 
Ad refer to Ae matter without giving ft much 
iiiq)artanoe.“ 

It wA not da If 1 owe something to n^ 
readers ft wA not suffice that I have communh 
cated it to my cat, my vaAt and my pet fizard. 
Who exactly Ad Mr Mulgaokar teO? Joumafists? 
If 80 , vAat Ad these joumafists do wfth tUs 
interestAg intelligence? St cn ft? I cannot recall 
a sAcfe newspaper which quoted Mr 
Mulgaokar on hu loA A the affiur. 

As Mr Mulgaokar adnuts A the final paragrqA 
of Us piece, Ae report A the Sunday Obsemer 
was merely a guess. Itmayhavebeenaconect 
guess but surely there A an important difference 
between a guess and a Act As for the Sundfty 
Afail the correspondent who mentioned Mr 
Mulgaokar's rde A that pqrer recently informed 
me 1 had come up wiA nothing new. She 
referred to her own report 1 adred her for Ae 
basis of her lepmt “Oh, 1 quoted CBI sources,” 
she said breerily, Tmgbdtoknowyoabefieve 
everything the CBI teOs you,” I repfi^ She fell 
silent. 

“I wA not purvey as feet what I cannot 
substantiate”— Anffl Shourie had written A Ms 
Press Code and ft remains, A general, a sound 
principle. There is a Afferenoe between bdng 
told of a document and seeAg it yourad^ 
between seeing ft yourself and abowipg ft to Ae 
readers. I do not erqrect every alkspitiao A Ae 
pten to be doovneuted vriA reproditced photo- 
copies but vAen one A deafingiwiA grave 
matters, ft hdps.A gamAg 

The next item of Ateiest A Kfe, 
testament A Ae reason he offers 



MuIggoligrgftgnM 
tatomHng iwion lor 
MtagthotnilhtotlioM 
WnOqipivOCIIBilllillli I 

cooM not hoM font 
iinqrwilhiloinlhii 
iiiiHir”Now,whyon 
oirlhiliouldihogiwd 
MrMulKNtiariiivt 

•VW inOllBm In IMIll « 

lerWoridngontiio 
pmniiMfliitMr 
Mutaokif doM Mit 
liivoilwliitai 
compuliloiitotilloi 
ndiliillllrlllliiBaoktr 
nraljflawwitliati 
Uinniiiiiorany 

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8 UIIIMY»-«Jttniafy 198 a 



th# gxpr— commufd on th# troublil r»tttt€m«hlp bttwwi Rajiv Qandhl Zall Singh. Whtwit Mul ga ofc a r '# lolt IngitafIMr? 


faking incomprehension to confuse the issue. He 
asks a series of questions which 1 presume he 
meant as rhetorical, as admitting of no answer 
save those which vindicate his l^haviour. 1 am 
afraid they are too serious and too basic to be left 
at that. 

''But why is it a cardinal sin in a President to 
ask for advice from his friends in a matter he 
regards as of considerable constitutional signifi- 
cance?" No, Mr Mulgaokar, it is not a sin for the 
President to ask. I have not suggested it is. 
Indeed 1 do not know a sin^ commentator in 
this affair who has. This red terring can safoly be 
disposed of. 

"Or why is it unprofessional conduct in a 
journalist to lend such help as he can to a cause 
he believes is right?" It aU depends on the help. 
Smce this is a vulgar error many have fallen into, 
1 repeat the para^phs which dealt with this 
question in my original article. 

"As Walter L^ppn^ pointed out, a news- 
paper is not a mirror to society but a 
flaal^t. It can only illuminate selectiona of 
reality. That is the rarely perceived differ- 
ence between news and truth. Therefore it 
becomes vital that the person who holds the 
flashlfeht, who makes die selection, behaves 
in such a manner as to ins^ our trust 
"What is important is that journalists— and 
newspapers as a whole— do not conspire with 
cerporations or politicians to play games. One 
expects fairness, not tepid neutx^ty. If the 
press is to comment on public life it should 
comment as a ju<^ not a coniqfiiiator. U t^ 
' press d|aimsS|Mecia] considerate 
is because, it, is supposed to speak in tfie 
. general interest, not the mfei^ 

, Urfedividual or g^ 

, "it wiB be objected thitt my define 
^ ^Oiit activist jQiinialism:l!^ 

\ niy case. I himpen to 
, try to Mbiem tifo pob^ 

^ ^^HiWcrafiursbut tiutoisme^ 

H I csit^see the poult of those who wish to 
' Muenca;. the shape of things^ My point is that 


UrlWiMkirhii 

flialiMwaskiiiiiia.Vlie 

Mr 

I-AA — 1^^ 

hUI vn miir ni ww 

Mkid In fiomct wai Id 
tewhmuiaiilly 
MwITHadtiiilriiiiil 

ma wni «■» 
Mr MalfiidlEtfiD iUy 
•dNeeVIIMiMilMf 

ptWmnmmjmmiwng 

htHttEiifimpiH 

iKN m^ tpwtMf 

IVMli^aalfarliaaMi 

taiiMMitoliiliMMpI 

SoM wlwSivfliinf 


if they are to be treated as joumalisto they 
must conduct thehr campaigns with probity. 
Whatever happens they must iievesr collude 
with the actors tmon whom they comment" 
"If I had written a newspaper artide saying it . 
was high tinie the President protested about the 
way ho was being taken, for granted by the 
Prim Minister, would Mr Bhagat have found 
anything to ohj^ to?" In a word no. Theaitide, 

1 approve o6 the draft 1 don't. Because one is 
pubfic; the other secret. 

Mr Mulg^kar probably realisea this which is 
; why he continues, *1 would have much preferred 
him to do that but there are times when one 
must desist I had placed mys^ in a situation of 
confidence. To hive acted in breach of tiiat 
confidence would have been to act scurrilous- 
ly..." Well, Mr Midgaolm sboM not have 
placed htnmif in such an inhibiting position hut 
given be found himself in sudi a situation he 
should have refrained, from both writii^ the 
article and conecting.tfae dr^. The presidency 
would not have collaqpsed if it had been deprived 
of the benefit of Mr Midgaito's sage advice. 

Mr Mtdgaokar has asked liiB questions. I shall 
now ask mine. Was Mr Mulgaokar aware that 
the fetter he was asked to conect was to be 
subsequently leaked? Had the friend prepared 
the dim that Mr Mu^pokar so ably edited? 
What was this prelkiunary draft doitig in the 
Eimress guest bouse, a phce Mr Mtilipokar has 
no busfaim to be m exc^ as a guest of one of 
time wlxi live, there? Is it customary for Mr 
Midgaokar to trice along and then leave around 
Boch sensitive papers when he visits Messrs 
Goeidca and Gurumurthy? Or did these drafts 
Ime something to do with them in particular? 
Who was the triend* wim ariced Mr Mulgaok^ 
to edit the Aaft? 

Poritiim a rausricxmection between the two 
evenm 0113 March, the Express 
Prune Mfefeter: ^^SCop bmdng the air. Start 
snawmtegthe PreridentMt's time they stopped 
hoeing the rirthrinse^ and started answering 
time qiieaikms. 




NEWS 


The return of the klers 


With the killing of the 
Majumdar family, 

Tripura faces the grim 
possibility of a violent 
Assembly election 

When Balai Majumdar left 
his home in Polkubari for 
work on 18 December, 
little did he know that it 
was the last time that he 
would ever see his wife 
and two little children. 

; For just after 10 am, when his wife, 
Daulatiam, a Kaipeng tribal, was busy in 
the kitchen, and his children playing in 
the courtyard, 15 gun-toting Tripura 
National Volunteers (TNV) guerrillas, 
led by the dreaded “Major” Dilip Koloi, 
stormed into the house spraying the 
children with bullets. Daulatiam was 


dragged out of the kitchen, hacked and 
shot. The uneasy silence which had 
prevailed over south Tripura for two 
months was shattered as the chatter of 
machine guns echoed within the Majum- 
dar home leaving Balai Majumdar's fami- 
ly in a pool of blood. 

Balai Majumdar, who is one of the 
oldest Bengali residents of Tripura, is a 
broken man today. “My only fault was 
that I had married a tribal,” he said. 
“The TNV does not take kindly to 
marriages between tribals and non- 
tribals,” he offered in explanation fur the j 


gory massacre of his hapless family. 
Only last year, the TNV vice-president, 
Dhananjoy Reang, had issued a “circu- 
lar” prohibiting marriages between trib- 
als and non-tribals and warning “defaul- 
ters" of dire consequences. Their mo- 
tive waS| undoubtedly, to ensure the 
permanent alienation of the two com- 
munities, and with the ruthless murder 
of the Majumdar family they had made 
their point. 

But intelligence sources in Polkubari 
feel that the Majumdar killing was only a 
preview of whaf the TNV has in store 
for the future. In the last issue of the 
Free Tripura Bulletin, the rebels had 
made their intention of disrupting the 
forthcoming Assembly elections Imown 
and had warned the “real citizens of 
Tripura”— the tribals — to stay away 
from the polls. Also, according to some 
tribals in the know, the Dilip Koloi gang 
has been extorting money from people in 
and around Polkubari. They also claim 
that it was Majumdar*s refusal to pay 
these “taxes” which had enraged the 
rebels and had prompted them to go on 
their killing spree. 





Intelligence agencies also say that the 
guerrillas have managed to collect as 
much as Rs 10 lakhs by terrorising 
farmers and the candidates who will be 
contesting the elections. With the 
Assembly polls just round the corner, 
they feel that the rebels will increase 
their terror tactics to extort money from 
the candidates. As one MLA said: *i just 
cannot camp»i;!n freely in my own con- 
stituency if 1 do not pay the TNV Rs 
50,000. So, I have asked my leaders to 
foot the bill or they can forget about 
winning this seat.” 

'fhe MLA's statement is only one 
example of the deterioration of the law 
and order situation in the state. The 
Tripura police, which is in charge of the 
counter-insurgency operation*^, has also 
not been spared by the guerrillas. The 
Ompi police station, which falls in the 
sensitive Folkubari area, is a little more 
than a rag-tag outfit and recently the 
officer-in-charge of the police station 
was found dead in Baithangbari. Inves- 
tigations revealed that the officer, Moloy 
Bhattacharya, had been killed by some 
angry tribal boys. The kx'al people also 
claim that Bhattacharya was often found 
misbehaving with the tribal girls after he 
had consumed liquor. 

Nripen Chakraborty’s CPI(M) gov- 
ernment t(K), has been ineffective in 
controlling terrorist activities but still, as 
the Centre has also pointed out, refuses 
to invoke the Anti-Terrorist and Disrup- 
tive Activities Act. In fact, the govern- 
ment has had no convincing reply to the 
Union home minister Buta Singh’s query 
that if Jyoti Basu could promulgate the 
Act in Darjeeling, what has been pre- 
venting Chakraborty from doing so in 
the disturbed areas of Tripura. 

Moreover, even when the police do 
manage to capture wanted extremists, 
they are let off, thanks to 'legal 
loopholes’. The recent release of ten 
TNV extremists on bail is a case in 
point. 

The state unit of the Congress(I), 
which has been harping on the de- 
teriorating law and order situation in 
Tripura, promptly called a bandh to 
protest a^inst the Polkubari killing. The 
chief minister beat a tactical retreat by 
saying that the government would not 
oppose the berndh “in deference of the 
wounded sentiments of the people”. 

But sympathy alone is not enough. 
The people who live in mortal fear of the 
extortionist guerrillas will now have to 
await the next move of the rebels. The 
TNV, meanwhile, is amassing money for 
large-scale purchases of arms and 
ammunition in preparation of its violent 
offensive during the Assembly polls. 



SUNOAVV-SJwiMrylMB 


Panic over a conference 


A meet of intellectuals in 
POK sparks off a political 
controversy in Srinagar 

The mere mention of 
Pakistan Occupied Kash- 
mir (POK) is enough to 
set New Delhi in a tizzy. 
New Delhi’s paranoia was 
evident in October when 
it hit the piinic button 
over the participation of 37 religious 
leaders, scholars and journalists from 
Jammu and Kashmir at the annual Shah 
Hamadan International Conference, in 
Muzaffarabad, the capital of POK. The 
invitations which were sent out by the 
I’akistan-based Shah Hamadan Interna- 
tional Islamic Association (SHIIA) and 
Azad Kashmir University, the co- 
s[3ons()rs of the event, sparked off a 
major political controversy in J and K. 

As the SHIIA general-.secretary, 
Abdul Aziz, said, the 2 October confer- 
ence was meant to be a “purely 
academic meet”. Though Pakistan’s 
President Zia-ul Haq did inaugurate the 
meet, Aziz claimed that J and K chief 
minister, Karooq Abdullah and People’s 
Action Committe* chairman, Mirwaiz 
Moulvi Farooq. ^'Sre invited not be- 
cause "they are political leaders but 
because they are the founder members 
of the Shah Hamadan Trust in Srinagar”. 
Similarly, E’eople’s National Conference 
leader, Gulam Muhamniad Shah, too 
received an invitation as he is “the head 
of the Anjuman Nusrat ul- Islam, an edu- 
cational institution”. 

But apparently, the Government of 
India suspected that there was more to 
the meet than just an innocent gathering 
of intellectuals exchanging notes about 
their studies on the saint, Shah Hama- 
dan, who is believed to have visited 
Kashmir twice about 600 yeas ago. And 
though the invitations had been sent out 
by the SHIIA sbe months before the 
event, the ministry of external a^irs sat 
up and took notice only as the invitees 
were preparing to leave for Muzaffeur- 
abad. 

If the invitees were allowed to pro- 
ceed to POK, argued the government 
offidals, it would be tantamount to an 
official recognition of Islamabad's stand 
on the state. But realising that the 
decision to prevent the invitees from 


attending the conference could 
"adversely affect relations between In- 
dia and Pakistan”, it was decided to 
conduct the operation with as little 
publicity as possible. 

But the cloak-and-dagger manner in 
which the government set about inform- 
ing the invitees was far from commend- 
able. The help of the J and K machinery 
was sought and only a few could be 
informed, over the telephone or through 
special emissaries, of the government’s 
stand, while the majority of them 
were brusquely told that the vi.sas issued 
in their favour by the Pakistan embassy 
in New Delhi had been “confiscated". 
Some received telegrams from the 
POK’s information department in India 
that the meeting had been postponed. 
But as it turned out the telegrams were 



(From I to r) Farooq Abdullah, G.M. Shah: 
thacalabrity invitaat 


"fake” and had been sent out by the 
Government of India! Still others were 
ordered to surrender their passports to 
the regional passport officer in Srinagar 
so that their endorsement to Pakistan 
could be cancelled. Some who had not 
even been invited for the conference 
also received notices under the Passport 
Act, 1967. asking them to deliver their 
passports within “48 hours" or else their 
passports would be impounded. It was 
learnt that these people had been dele- 
gates at the previous year’s conference. 

It’s little wonder then that the invitees 
are upset about the high-handed manner 
in which the government has acted. As 
one of them wrote in a letter of protest 
to the Prime Minister “We claim to be 
citizens of a democratic country but the 
ill-conceived action by the government 
has provided our detractors with an 
opportunity to raise a finger at us.” 
YiMIlf jMIMl/SHbligW 





I Ershad must go 


i 

! The Opposition clamours for 
the President’s resignation 
despite his promise of holding 
fresh elections 

The fireworks are over— 
but a few crackers are 
still sputtering and throw- 
ing out the occasional 
spstfk in the Bangladesh 
political scene. After all 
jthe violence and agitation 
of the 'Dhaka Siege' programme, the 
movement against [Resident Ershad has 
had the constitutional rather than the 
revolutionary outcome of a dissolution of 
Parliament on 6 December J987. 

After several concessionary offers to 
conduct fresh elections provided the 
Opposition stopped asking for his res- 
ignation, and after freeing most of the 
Opposition leaders who had* been 
arrested after 10 November, President 
Ershad decided on the expediency of 
this measure. An official announcement 
declared that the President’s decision 
was in accordance with Article 72(1) of 
the Bangladesh constitution. 

The last elections in Bangladesh had 
been held on 7 May 1986. Twenty-eight- 
political parties, including the Jatiya Par- 
ty headed by Ershad himself, as well as 
the Awami League and the Jamaat-e- 
Islami participated in the polls, while the 
BNP-led seven-party alliance boycotted 
them. 

Though the government responded to 
the November agitations with repres- 
sive measures like numerous arrests, 
widespread police and paramilitary ac- 
tion, and finally the declaration of a state 
of emergency, President Ershad also 
started making concessionary offers to 
the leaders of the Opposition within a 
few days. His main objective was to 
persuade the motley crew of the Bang- 
ladesh Opposition to give up their one 
common demand for his resignation. He 
held out the carrot of fresh and fair 
elections— some sources even believe 
that he may offer to resign from his 
position as head of the Jatiya party— he 
freed most of the important Opposition 
leaders including the two Begums, but 
all to no avail. 

Regardless of what the C)|)po^ion 
feels, the constitution requi;\ss*^th^ 
fresh parliamentary elections be he# 
within 90 days of dissolution of Parlia- 
ment. Therefore the next elections in 


Bangladesh should take place by 5 
March 1988. Some sources have even 
indicated that President Ershad may 
even dissolve the present Cabinet to 
ensure that the ministers participating in 
the next elections do nut use the admi- 
nistrative machinery for their own pur- 
poses. 'Phere has also been talk of an 
ad\i$ory council being formed, consist- 
ing of non-controversial persons accept- 
able both to the government and the 
Opposition. 

However, both Sheikh Hasina Wazed, 
leader of the ei^t-party alliance and 
Begum Khfileda Zia of the seven-party 
alliance, have rejected outright tlic offer 
of a dialo^e with the government unless 
the President resigns. They were re- 
leased from internment on 10 Decem- 
ber, and promptly renewed their call for 
general strikes and non-cooperation. 

"We are determined to free the peo- 
ple from the grip of the present autocra- 
tic government.” declared Sheikh Hasi- 
na. President Ershad, .she said, had 
proved by dissolving the Parliament that 
it was not an acceptable or credible 
body, and that the elections of May 1986 
were rigged. Asked why the members 
of her own party had not resiimed from 
the Parliament when others like mem- 
bers of the Jamaat-e-lslami had, Sheikh 


S ugrabibi and her five grown-up 
cl4<fren have been on a vigil for 
13 long years: every day they make 
the trip to the Municipal Hospital in 
Ahmedabad, with hope in their 


f 



Shaikh Hasina Wazad baing arrastad In 
Dhaka: damanding Ershad^ ouatar 


Hasina said that her party had not been 
willing to precipitate the promulgation of 
martial law in the wake of their resigna- 
tion. Now that the Parliament has been 
dissolved, and a state of emergency 
prevalent. Sheikh Hasina and her follow- 
ers were determined to carry on their 
movement to restore democracy in 
Bangladesh. 

The other Begum on the scene, chief 
of the Bangladesh National Party (BNP). 
Khaleda Zia, has reiterated her call for 
elections under a non-partisan neutral 
government. She termed the dissolution 


hearts. Perhaps, this will be their 
lucky day, when Kasam Miyan Ghori, 
Sugrabibi's husband, win emerge out 
of his coma. But Dame Lude his not 
smiled on them, yet. 


SugrablW at Kaaam MNyanOtiori'abadalda: a long vlgH 



X 

CO 

LU 

o 

3 

CT 

z 

<. 

CO 


The living dead 



of Parliamenl a people's victory. 

So an uneasy silence prevails in Bang< 
ladesh. Like all rulers with almost abso- 
lute power. President Ershad is most 
unwilling to give up power. The Opposi- 
tion has so far successfully sunk their 
differences to make common cause over 
his resignation. But in the process they 
have substantially damaged an already 
endangered economy. With Ershad 
throwing the ball in their court by the 
offer of mid-term elections and the 
I dissolution of Parliament, it remains to 

I l)e seen whether they can work out a 

I constructive as well as politically profit- 

j able course of action. 

I Atomgir Hoftiin/Hiwlai 


On 12 March, 1974, the 36-year- 
old fireman Kasam Miyan Ghori, 
rushed towards the city’s railway 
station, where a 100-year-old budd- 
ing had been set ablase by students 
during the Nav Nirman agitations. It 
was just another job to be taclded. 
But even as he and his colleagues 
fought the fiames, the roof of the 
ramshackle building gave way hitting 
Ghoii on the head and firacturing the 
fingers of his left hand. 

Ghori was rushed to the V. S. 
Hospital where he was operated on 
thenexi inorning but to the doctors’ 
surprise, he went into a coma and for 
the last 13 years he has not regained 
consciousness* Neurologists and 
surgeons have declared his oonditian 
asoooia-fo-Mlgjfo, and have diagnosed 
that as he has suffered an irr^versfi^le 
cortical damage, sending him 
treatment ahmd would also i^t 
help. However, R, Baneiji, the depu- 
ty municipal commissioner, has bM 
that a second medical opuiicn would 
be sou0it before a deddon is taken. 


The Sonia Gandhi factor 


Did the Prime Ministers wife 
dtreatm P. Upendra? The 
Tdugju Desam says yes and 
the Congress(I) denies it 

What did Mrs Sonia Gan- 
dhi rally say to Par- 
vathaneni Upendra, the 
bureaucrat-turned- 
pofitkaan and leading light 
of the Tehigu Desam Par- 
ty CTDP), at the Begum- 
pet Airport last week? Only Mrs Gandhi 
knows and God knows. Though the lady 
has kept mum about the raging con- 
troversy, the ruling TDP and the 
Opposition Congressd) in Andhra 
Pradesh have launched a slanging match. 

So, what really happened? The Prime 
Minister has been quick to rebut Upen- 
dra's charge that Mrs Gandhi had 
pointed an accusing 6nger at him and 
said, “I’ll see your end if I'm alive for 
what you said about me in Parliament." 
“My wife does not threaten anybody,” 
said Rqjiv Gandhi just as the storm ab^ 
Sonia Gandhi's remarks was beginning 
to rise. Friends of the Gandhi fsndy say 
that what Sonia actually said was, “I am 
not doing namaste to you because you 


b the meantime, the Ahmedsdrad 
Muni^ Corporatioa has been for- 
warding Qiori’s foD salary— vriuch 
comes to Rs 1,400 rt present— to Us 
fondly membm along with an alfo- 
wanoe of Rs 400 to provide for fruits, 
mik, etc, for the oomatoee Ghoii 
Says P. E. Dastoor, daeffireofScer, 
“Kasam was good at work. We aho 
hefo him by giving him Ra 400 every 
monthfrooimfoeaerviceabenevo* 
tent fiinil" The municipal a u thorities 
have alsb.oQmd |p ooniida Sugra- 
faibi’a roqueat for^a job for their 
eldest' aga ' 

Caring for a aide, taiaband aid 
looking after five chiidreD, has 
proved to be a fii>ihne 'joh for 
Su 0 »diifai«lia, afonpa^tbahospit' 
ai stafi tfos ndpedThBOp fjbori five 
from foteetidai and diaawM. But edi 
SugrabAi ever spesk to bar husband, 
ano thoi#. coQitMM!, o cpwieia fi r 
movet hia loibs, or Iiu|p»suddei4t( 
and aeans to be just foking a short 
nap? Suardfli sti prays wl hopes. 


have said bad things about my family in 
Parliament.'* 

Upendra and the Telugu Desam’s 
version is entirely different. RecaDed 
Upendra , “A shamiana had been set up 
at the airport to receive Mr Gandhi. It 
was a little distance awayfrom the tar- 
mac. 1 was in the front row. Mr Gandhi, 
while passing my way, said/How are yoi^ 
Upento?’. 1 said, 'Fine, th^ you’. Mrs 
Gandhi was walking behind her husband. 

1 did namaste to her. She looked daggers 
at me and passed on. After a minute or 
two she pointed at me and asked the PM 



Sonia Qandhl, P. Upendra: raging eontrovaray 


something. (The Prime Minister later 
was to say that Sonia had asked him to 
point out Upendra to her). . . Suddenly 
Mrs Gandhi took a few steps backwards 
towards me and with a Qushed face and | 
an accusing finger pointed at my direc- 
tion, said, 'I'll see your end if I'm 
alive for what you have said about roe in 
Parliament’. Then she briskly walked 
away to join her husband. ” Upendra savs 
that a top MLA, Manik Reddy, who was 
right beside Sonia Gandhi when she 
aUegedly threatened him, later con- 
firmed that Upendra had indeed heard 
correctly. 

And, thus, the controversy began. 
The Governor of Andhra Pradesh, 
Kumudben Joshi, when asked by the 
Prime Minister to confirm what hap- 
pened, said Upendra was telling lies. 
Upendra’s followers say it is the Gov- 
ernor herself who is guilty of not telling 
the truth. In Hyderabad the slanging 
match between the Telugu Desam and 
the Congressd) finds expression in the 
reports published in the Newstime and 
Deccan Chronicle, the two mass- 
circulated En^sh d^es. Newstime has 
bhen inclined to believe what Upendra 
says while Deccan Chronicle places 
greater faith in the Congress(I) argu- 
ment that it isaU a gimmick to divert 
attention from NTR’s troubles. 

fWJM 


SUNDAY 3-«Jinuaiy 1968 



NEWlS^ 


Wanta 

phone? 

Contact Arjun Singh who 
has allegedly been granting 
out-of-turn connections in 
Bhopal 

The hotline between the 
tele-communications de- 
partment in Bhopal and 
the Union minister for 
communications, Arjun 
Singh, has not stopped 

ringing, thanks to the 

.minister's incessant demands that his 
Congress (1) colleagues be given out-of- 
tum telephone connections. 

The minister's largesse would not 
have been revealed had it hot been for 
one angry advocate, Khiryadkar, who 
has been awaiting a telephone connec- 
tion since January 1987. In spite of being 
No. 3140 on the 
waiting list, he 
claims that 19 per- 
sons who were 
listed after him, 
have already been 
given telephone 
connections. In a 
litigation suit filed 
byKhirvadkarinthe 
district sessions 
court in Bhopal, the 
advocate said 
that the PCC(l) chief, Digvqay Singh, 
who had also applied for a telephone 
connection, and whose application had 
been registered as No. 3,179 has 
already received his telephone on 11 
November, 1987. 

Though tele-communications officials 
are unable* to state the exact number of 
lines that Aijuh Singh has allotted to his 
followers and friends, it is estimated that 
at least 1,000 such telephone connec- 
tions may have been installed, following 
orders from the minister. 

It is also alleged that some Congress 
(1) leaders of Raipur got telephone 
connections, courtesy the minister, and 
then sold them to traders and bu^ness- 
men for hefty amounts. But the sea- 
soned politician that Arjun Singh i% the 
telephone-connections controvei^ ig 
hardly likely to ruffle him or his 
lowers. 

M.V. Kher/HSai^ 





Workers give finishing touehss to ths Kanehsn|anQlMi Stadium In SIHgurl: a boon to sports 


The show moves to Siliguri 


The town gears up to host the 
Nehru Cup in January 1988 

mH^mill The hullaballoo over the 
small-town venue for the 
Nehru Cup football 
tournament has died a 
natural death, but one 
hopes Siliguri will justify 
_ its selection with first-rate 

facilities and packed stands. The 
seventh international soccer competition 
hosted by India will be held there for a 
fortni^t from 15 January. 

It is, perhaps, an indication of the 
balance of power in the All India Football 
Federation that four of the sbe competi- 
tions held so far have been staged in 
Kerala four tinges — twice, the venue 
was Cochin, once, the capital Trivan- 
drum and last year, it was Kozhikode. 
The first and third Nehru Cup competi- 
tions had been hosted by the IFA in 
Calcutta. 

The idea of starting the Nehru Cup 
competition was that Indian players and 
si^ctators would be able to get a 
glimpse of international football and pro- 
fit by it. It had originally been decided 
that the tournament would be rotated 
through different centres of the country 
so that world football would come first 
hand to a large cross-section of football 
lovers. 

But in actual practice, the competition 
has not moved. It is generally agreed 
that Kerala has the largest amount of 
money to spare for football. Any tourna- 
ment of a reasonable standard would see 
the stapdrrfiill. To the Keralite, only the 
quality cd competition matters. Money is 
jipparentljr, not difficult to come by. 

_ ^fe 4putta, too, a good competition 
^‘Sjjffttact crowds. But money is an 


important factor to the football fan 
because, like the players, the core of the 
football public comes from the not-so- 
affluent section. A Nehru Cup, of course^ 
is a must-see meet. 

Despite the almost continuous regres- 
sion of the Indian standard of football, 
participation in the Nehru Cup has been 
of a very high order. World class players 
have graced our grounds every year 
from 1982. Tlie nucleus of the 1986 
World Cup winning Argentinian squad 
was formed here, way back in 1984 
when the third Nehru Cup was held. 
Most of the Soviet squad which won the 
1986 Nehru Cup featured in that coun- 
try's bid for the Mexico World Cup. 

But neither India's performance, nor 
its bid to build proper infrastructure for 
the improvement of its standard, has 
met with any major success. Time after 
time, temporary structures had been put 
up, only to be dismantled immediately 
after the tournament. Calcutta gained 
the impetus to start earnest work on the 
Yuba Bharati Krirangan in 1984 and, a 
year later, Trivandrum managed to com- 
plete a modest stadium. 

Only now, Siliguri has come up with a 
permanent plan. A picturesque stadium 
is now in its last stage of construction 
and, well before the stadium's inaugura- 
tion on 11 January, it is expected to be 
ready. 

The Kanchaqjangha Stadium, with a 
capacity to seat 35,000 spectators, is 
named after the Himalayan peak which is 
clearly visible from the ground on k 
sunny day. The stadium will be available 
for both football and cricket, thus giving 
North Bengal its first and the entire 
north-eastern region a first-rate stadium 
for national and international competi- 
tions. 

Artjit SmUSKIguri 


cc 

o 

Q. 

00 














4 










S»'Nl)AYsrK( IAL 








J* ' /" rltj? -j'-T*,/ 










. ?. 5/«jf /i began 
the year with a question 
mark over his loyalty and 
ended it with a question 
mark over his prospects. 
Throughout January, 1987, 
the speculation raged: 
would V. P. Singh quit the 
cabinet now tftat he had 
made up with A run Nehru? 
The answer was four 
months in coming- after a 
trh of scandals: faitfax, 
HDW and Bofors—and 
even then, the Raja still 
proclaimed his loyalty to 
Rajiv Gandhi. It was only 
•after the attempted coup 
(gainst the go vemment 
(with Zail Singh as its bat- 
tering ram) failed and Rajiv 
got tough, lhai the Rajahs 
rhetoric took a shrill, angry 
turn. 

Where he goes from Here 
remains to be seen. There 
can be no denying his in” 
tegrity and his ownsimplir> 
ity of style. Equally. ' his 
popularity in the Hindi belt 
is also imquestkmable. But 
does all this u putative Prime 
Minister make ?TheRafe*s 
supporters fervently hope 
so. but there are others who 
feel that with his vaccilla- 
lion, when Rajiv was most 
vulnerable, V.P. Singh let 
his only opportunity slip. 
AndtHatf tTs downhdi from 
now on. Orly tone will tell 
who is right. 


m. 





c 

oomphy import from the South, sailed through 
some choppy waters this year. Her on-again, off-again affair with 
MUhun Chakraborty kept the whole world (including Sridevi herself) 
guessing. Mithun's affections swung like a pendulum between lus 
lady dove f Sridevi, and his stay-at-home wife Yogitaandson Mimo, 
but true to Hindi filmi tradition the “woh" lost out. Though her 
private life was **stormy, " on the professional front, Sridevi sailed 
smoothly. To start with Nagina was a unqualified success. Mr India 




saw Sridevi taking the country by storm, prompting some wags to 


rename the venture Miss India. Her versatility and the ease with 
which she performed every kind of role, has earned her the number 
one slot in Bombay. This year too, she should go singing to her hank. 

V 

W inod Khanna thumbed his 
nose at films and fortune and followed his Bhagwan to Orego it> 
USA. ButSwami Vined Bharati, like somany other Rajneeshites, 
strayed away from the flock. La^t year saw him coming back to the . 
celluloid world. Jmaaf and Saty^evJeyiaXe proved to all that Ufe in 
the Oregon commune had done nothing to destroy Vinod Khama*s 
famed macho image. Nobody, it appeared, coid^sfop him on his 
journey to the top of the bax-Tf^ charts. The would have had' 

a happy ending but for Vin to saw off the branch he 

was sitting dn. Stories of his m^‘^nmn&rs begat^ jlo do the rounds. 
His promfcers have so far toierOHd grapevine has it 

is wearing tMn 



. 52 


A 

m Maniitabh 
Bachchan was the bifigesi 
casualty of P)S7. The 
biggest superstar India had 
ever seen, he entered politics 
solely to help his old friend 
Rajiv Gandhi but ended up 
damaging both Rajiv and 
himself 

Bachchan^s biggest prob- 
lem was that V.P. Singh 
perceived him as a threat to 
his Allahabad base and 
hence, smeared him with 
calculated teaks from the 
finance ministry . Most of 
what was leaked could not 
be substantiated but when a 
document suggesting his 
brother Ajitahh had lied ab* 
out hvi prtfperty in Switzer- 
land surfaced, his credibility 
nose-dived. 

Nevertheless, he remains 
India's box-office phe- 
nomenon and. should 
Shahenshah idite in early 
J9H8) succeed, then there'll 
he no stopping him. 




j^^Lrunl 


Shourie is, withoiU a doubt, the single most 
influentia! journalist of the 1980*s. In the early part of the 
decade, Arun Shourie toppled A.H, Antulay and shook 
Indian journalism out of its complacency. Hounded out by 
his empioyer, mercurial press baron Ram Nath Goenka, he 
proved that freeJancc journalists can be as effective by first 
blowing die whistle on police apathy in Assam (in India 
Today) and then penning fine introspective pieces that 
many thought were even better than his investigative stuff. 

In 1987, Shourie returned in a new avatar, re-united 
oddly enough with the Sethji who had first employed him, 
and eager to take on the governtnent of Rajiv Gandhi. As 
Ae Indian Express soon became a star performer in the 
attempt to topple Ae regime, and Shourie replaced Swnan 
Dubey as editor, the paperis circulation sk^-rocketed. 

But Avt time, the admiration for Skcaru was interspersed 
with doubts from his peeh* Was he a man of principle? Or 
was he simply a man of passions? Anivm it right for a 
journalist to ftmctkni as a political ac ? ,,, 

Shourie seemed not to care. His some 


chan's Swiss properties) and his admirers We # 







54 




H 

mk e was the melHf” 
iiious singer of Gurbani 
who chose to use his voice 
to spur young Khaltstanis to 
greater militancy. Darshan 
Singh Ragi becoming the 
jathedar of the Akal Takht 
on 26 January 19S7, signal- 
led a dramatic turn of events 
in the violent history of 
Punjab. His withdraw^ 
from the position of 
jathedar late in 1987 is sur- 
rounded by mystery and 
controversy. With the re- 
lease of United A kali Dal 
leader Prakash Singh Bad- 
ait Ragi decided to lead a 
**peace march” to Delhi 
Jointly wish Badal. Only the 
government's ban stopped 
the march 










SUNDAY SPECIAL 

n 

The newsmakers 
of 1987 

TrLshanku on celebrities and events 


^ , EVbnrthingV.P. 
Singh touched 
turned pure as 
snow. To 
sections of the 
free press h«T 
was Sir Galahad 
. * i with the HoSy 
' Grail 


‘ V.P.Singh: Ht* wa^ The nolier- 
; thaii-thcMj 'A'ith a capital H’. He o 
I verecl comiption in tho govcinjiu-nt ?of 
I which he wa:-. a membei far years), in 
i the Congress (of wliich he wa^ a mem- 
I her for deradcsV and he had a soluhon 
! to every problem tacine the country. To 
; sections of I'ne ‘free prc'-'s , he vvus Su 
’ Cialahad with the H<jiv Grail. And (ike / 

I modem King Midas, everything h.e 
; touched turned pure as srow. riMe 
j V.C. Shukla could talk about press 
, freedoin, Aiun Nehru about Irccdom 
j from fear, Datta about uidustr*al peace. 

: Crowned Kaj Kisiii’ by Varanasi 
i bralitiiiiis, he be<'ame a symbol of stH.u- 
larism: keeping mum on Roop Kanwar’s 
sati did not make liirn an outcast with 
our editors and intellectuals. And like 
I the late JP, VP mouthed 'total revolu- 
I tion' while Kamnath Gocnka and his gang 
applauded from the sidelines. 

Chandra SwamitHe made tlie cover 
of Illustrated Weekly and other maga- 
zines, hobnobbed with inlernationai 


Chandra SwamI 
got his name 
linked with 
eveiything irom 
Boforsto 
Brigitte Bardot 
(or was it 
Elizabeth 
Taylor?) 






-V.- 


celcbritie.'; and got his name linked with 
everything from Rotors to Hngitte liar- 
dot loi was it Kli/aheth Taykir?). Neater 
home, he blessed the Devi Lai govern- 
ment, acquired ihe services of Kitm 
Jethnialani and once more exjwsed the 
gullibility of our famous ‘fiee iiress’ 
Sunil. Gavaskar: At Dsi letitod 
from the game. Jind that tO(« with a 
wliimper during the Reliaiu e Cup semi* 
ilnaJ m Rombav. As cricket lovers 
breathed a sigh of relief, tlie pubbeity 
blit zkreig continued, ilow much is 
Ciavaskar worth? Is he the richest plavei 
in the land? What is he upto Taow? Dow 


i 


Sunil *ikar 
! retired froUi the 

; game, and that 

I too with a 

I whimper 


\ 


the t^^l^machl^e became the money 
machine and so on. 

A jitabh Bachchan; For the last 28 
years, I have been on tlie bokout for a 
flat and no one in the media is bothered 
about tliat. Not just me, but millions of 
other Indians have no earthly hopes of 
acquiring d<^'ent accommodation. And 
when one chap to acquire a flat 

in Switzerland, it make? frontpage stor- 



ies fe.r flavs. 'niousarids I if Indians have 
stashed away wvallhi in fonrigr, baiik.'j. 
why overpublicise on»* mun’s vvbeoiing- 
deaiing? 

S.Mulgaokar: You may became an 
editor-in-chief, you may became- edito 
rial advisur hut m the heart ot bcaris, 
you remain a sub editor, correcting 
s’pcilmg, grammar and punctuation. And 
wdiat it one r»f the corrected iloc'iincm.s 
turns out to he a higirly confidc.'ntial 
memo from the President of the country 
to the Pnn»<» Minisier? Why make a big 
hiss about It? ^cratch a .senile niischief- 
nnkiT in journ.iiism, vou’H find a sub- 
ediior. 

The Bofors Gun:For the mtemn- 
tumal pres:c the Reagan -Gorbachev 
summit is th-'' news s;orv of T? 87 . But 
for us. it’s the Bofors )|fun and the Bofors 
gun. What its trajeciory’ fWs it 
shoot slMighl? Win (lid i}en. Mayadas 
write 3 v id verse report on it.*’ 1 -: the 
aiirf 111111111011 .supplied full of duds.'' The 
Botors gun has created a record number 
of ‘aifegeri’ deu-nct* experts m ♦! le media, 
most ot whom cannot di-:»mgviisli be- 
tween a ‘RampiiJ i’ kiiuc and a Colt . 45 . 

Indian Post-Sunday Observer: 

The editors of lhfj«e Bombay -based 
new^spapers switched jobs, became odi- 
tors-in- c!iief and one of them threatened 
that Kis paper had cjcquirc d a 'no w look'. 
Billed media sw itch of the year, the 
non-event would ha /o wvnmed the cock- 
!es of a modem Div'kens. Reinember the 
'FatenswiU Post' and ‘Gazette’ in ’Pick- 
wick Paper . s’ ? And as the editors 
changed chairs some of the old faiibhils 
followed like the little Lamb following 
Mary everywhere. Do we Ivive 
ayarams. gayarams in journalism too? 

Gopi Arora:Is he the most powerful 
man in the PM's secretariat? Is he 
stealing or h;i\e his wings been clipped? 
Is he the evil genius who okayed the 
DIR raids on the Indian A’xpress.^ Or is 
he in the doldrums with all the major 
economic and finance ’portfolios taken 
away from him? 


i 


I 

1 

! 


i 


57 



SUNDAY SPECIAL 




Rameih 
Krishnan scored 
a 'great victory’ 
^ over the 

Inexperlencod, 


Australians 


you?’ queried 0ie BIK;, ’Most welcome’ 
cooed the Tq} sod spri^ the red caii)^ 
But when the documrataiy turned out to 
beakindofspbot thehoteliuidaho$tof 
Bombay’s rich socialites who had figured 
in the show were not amused. The press 
termed it the ’non-^vent of the year' but 
devoted columns and columns to re- 
ports. reactions, comments, editorials, 
features, retractions and what not! Quia 
mistress Sabira Merchant, one of those 
spoofed in the show, rolled her eves and 
vowed never to appear on a BBC show 
again and the chaps sighed with relief! 


Ramesh Krishnan-Vijay Amrit- 
raj: A great triumph, a marvellous 
victory, cooed the press. Who were the 
opponents? Inexperienced, unknown 
Australians who were down, down on 


The pms made 
HlookaeifVI- 
|ayAmrltra|hed 
beaten a Lendl, 
aWllanderoret 
leait a McEnroe 



Why all this fuss 
byAmjadAil 
Khan about a 
signature tuna? 



the intemational.circuit. Champion Au-* 
safe Pat Cash with a bad knee pulled out 
of die singles, making our task all the 
more easy. Yet the noise in the press 
made it look as if we had beaten a Lendl, 
a Wilander or at least a McEnroe! 



Amjad Alt Khan: Why all this fuss 
over a signature tune? And what if 
Doordarshan assigned Khan to produce 
the tunes, yet accepted the ‘wester- 
nized’ tunes of Louis Banks. Doesn't 
Doordarshan know that East is East, the 
West is West, and the twain shall never 
meet? 


Why can’t 


Scindlashaw 
the pseudo-rich 
and the 
phoney-rich 
how It should be 
done? 


Vaaantdada Patil: Mqjor upheavals 
were predicted when the venerable 
Dada quit his gubernatorial diair in 
Jaipur aiKl landed in Bombay to proceed 
to Sangli and parts of the sugar belt. * ^ 
Dissidence. dinner dipfemacy and de- 
signing pofitidans followed £^, the 
Mauato lobby bestirred ttsdf but wh^ . 
was the upheaval? ' , 1 

TheTaJMahalHotelandttie" ^ 
BBC : 'Can we make a documentary oh . 


Reading Dlllp 
Vangsarkar's 
syndicated 
copy, one would 
like to call him 



does he think he 
ls?Kuldlp 
Nayar? 


Dilip Vengsarkar: He does not like 
to be c^led ‘colonel’, but reading his 
syndicated copy, one would like to call 
him ‘private’. According to the Indian 
captain, the only thing standing between 
India and victory against the West Indies 
is the Board's opposition to Vengsar- 
kar's column. Who does he think he is? 
Kuldip Nayar? 



Let Imran Khan 
marry anyone 
he likes and let 
him live In 
peace 


Imran Khan: Now that the hand- 
some Pathan has retired, let him marry 
anyone he likes and let him live in peace. 
The speculation over his marriage would 
make one believe that our national 
pastime is match-making . 


MAdhamo Scindtai When the 
pseudcHichandthe phoney-ridi celebrate 
weddings like royalty, why can’t real 
royalty show how it should be done? 

The Italian cimnection:Reading 
our 'free press' one would belfeve that 
the adnunfetrationfe being run from 
Italy. The PM’s security is in Italian 
tnigis, the fmdtiliqer deals are gobbled up 
by Itaws^tte PM and hfe wtfe ho8d^ 
,igyw&P% 18. There is so much of 
' cold over to 

Msntsmis! 


Who really com* 
misskmad 
PIrabliakaran? 
Haabaanycon- 
necHoatarilh 
the UgM Bri- 
gade? 


Pirabhakatan: b he really 8 flener- 
al? Who ready conuiasskmed him?- Ddes 
he have any conoeclkma vdfh the Light 
Brigade where officers and men were 
ordered to charge into the vaUey of 
death? ■ . 





68 


SUNDAY 3-9 J«M«v 1986 






river of blood 


The 25,000-odd fishermen of Bhagalpur have only 
known a life of misery. They are not only victims of 
extortionist ‘'waterlords” who impose and collect 
taxes, but also of criminals who can get away by 
killing them at random 


F or the fishermen who fish in 
the Gangs along its Sfi-km 
stretch firom Sultangunj to 
Phpiunty of Bihar's Bhagaip^ 
district, fhe law is of the 
jungle and the rule is of the gun. Here 
paStdars (wateriords) actually have the 
legal authority to operate like aandndars, 
three decades after the aatnindari sys- 
tem was abolished ftom the rest of the 
country. The contractors to whom the 
parudSars lease out their fishing rights 
literally hold their kutcheries (courts) on 
the banks of the Ganga and collect 
**taxes". And like in the old days of the 
xamihdari system, while the 'tax collec- 
tors" oppress the poor, the criminals 
happily get away with random killing. 

Murdm routinely redden the Gangs. 
A macabre evidence of this was fished 
out recently by the police: four 
skeletons. Invest^tkms revealed that 


A boat rally d nshMiiwn: 
figniinB lOT VMi npiro 


the skeletons were of four murdered 
fishermen adiose legs had been hacked 
off. as is the tradition in these parts. The 
victims belonged to a group of 12 
fishermen who had been missing for a 
week. All are believed to have been 
killed though the remains of only four of 
them have been found. 

Normally, even these four skeletons 
would not have been found but for an 
anonymous person who informed one of 
the victims' kin about the murder. And a 
couple of mutilated oori^ woidd have 
bar^ raised the administnition's eyeb- 
rows. grabbed the attention of the 
district administration and the local 
press was the tximber of victims in- 
volved. "If one or two people had been 
killed in nfidstream the case would h^ 
been forgcrtten," admits Nil Mani, dis- 
I trict supmtendent of polioe. , 

to reports, on 17 Novem- 


ber, 11 Bengali fishermen and a local 
escort set safl from Sahihgufiii fai two 
boats, heading upstream towi^ Bfoa- 
galpur, where they had been hired by 
one of the contractors. They were 
carrying an expensive mafopaf (a huge 
fishmg net that stretches over a iew 
kilometres) and some food. When they 
readied Rani Diara, a sand bank 50-0^ ^ 
kitoiiieties from Bhagalpur, they were 
miirdeted by unknown killers. And after . 
tUdr legs were hacked off; their bodlea- . 
were thrown overboard. Nine days after . 
the fishermen had sailed, a mysteriout r 
person informed KaMpada Rsjbandu, a ,, 
relative of one of the victims, about the 
murder. I^lxuishi lodged an FIR at the 
Barari polioe statkm near Ram Diaie aid ^ ^ 
the pofice "forced” some fishermen to ; 
dive into the river to recover the bodies, .V 

Police investigations so for have uih ' 
earthed nothing more than "ooQjeo^ . 
tures” and "surmises”. Some fishermen ' 
even believe that a few junior poficemeii \ 
are themselves involved in the nasnfer. J 
"So for ft is aO inferenoes and no defidle 
dues,” says B.N. Chowdhary, Bhagsl- 
pur’s district magistrate, adding that 
only after the report of the recent, 
massaoe had the adirMstiation itarfed ^ 
receiving reports of similar crimes coQir*^; 
mftted in the riverine . areas of the ..' 
district However, two persons haA‘^ 
been arrested at the time of going ^ 
press. But the very arrests threatmd 
to let loose a storm. 

For, the two arrested inen, Diitgi and 
Prasadi Sahani, are mentbers of tte . 
Ganga Mukti Andolan ((HdA), an oria- 
nimtion that hm been attest 
th^ tnditioMi cipkiitition of 
mithe area. And nather of them Inm 
aMnll noorda. The poPoe aqr flat. 




NEWSWATCH 

r " " 


they had received complaints that the 
arrpsted men had earlier threatened the 
Bengali fishemm who had agreed to 
work for the contractors when the load 
fishermen were boycottii^ the “taxes". 
The GMA. however, denies it. Even the 
ruling Con^ssQ) men have refrained 
from accusing the GMA. *The pdfice 
have made these arrests to save their 
faces," says Birendra Kumar Gupta, a 
Youth Congress(I) leader from Kahal- 
gaon, near Rani Diara where the GMA is 
most active. Meanwhile, a seven-man 
fact finding .team of the Bihar Nagrik 
Samifi visited Kahalgaon and absolved 
the GMA. “As long as the panidari 
system exists, the killings wfll go on," 
says Saryu Roy, a memb^ of the team. 

M ainly, there are four panklars, 
three of whom belong to the 
famous Ghosh famnily of Bhagalpur 
Mahashay Rabindranath Ghosh; his 
younger brother Mahashay Mahesh 
Ghosh; and Somenath Ghosh who is the 
son of the third brother who is dead. 
The fourth panidar is Musharaf Hussain 
Parmanik, who reportedly spends half 
his time in Bangladesh. Mahashay Mah- 
esh Ghosh is the most famous. He lives 
in the Mahashay Deorhi, the Ghosh's 
ancestral home on the outskirts of 
Bhagalpur. He loves to talk about his 
powers: “Even the criminals call me 
baba. You will not be able to leave 
Bhagalpur should I wish so," Ghosh told 
this correspondent. “Emperor Jehangir 
apve us the Mahashay title and £e 
rights to fish between the two high 
b^softheGanga,"hewenton. “Inthe 
early nineteenth century, during the 
British rule, one Mr Smith challenged 
our fishing rights but the Governor 
General's Coundl rescinded the order." 
In 1907 Ahmedia Begum brought up the 
matter before the Calcutta court Lord 
S.P. Sinha argued the case for the 
Ghosh family and won. In 1961, the 
Bihar government tried to take away the 
rights of the panidars on the basis of the 
Zamindari Abolition Act. But the Ghoshs 
who had by then dedicated their proper- 
ty to their family goddess, won the case 
In 1964 in the Patna High Court. In 
1971, the Bihar government took the 
case to the Supreme Court, where it is 
still pending. 

“Most of the land in Bhagalpur was 
ours", says the pamdar. “We have .given 
everythuig away. So what more :an 
anyone ask?" Ghosh claims that he earns 
01 ^ about Rs 25,000 per year, as fees 
from the contractors for the fi^hidig 
rights and most of it is spent on tlk^^ 
lavish Durga Piqa that is organised bv 
the family every year. “1 live on my 
inoHhle from my brick kiln," he adds. 





ThmlMzamlntkmi Mahesh Ghosh (Isfl) and 
Rabindranath Ghosh 


The GMA activists, however, claim that 
he gefs lakhs of nipeea from the can- 
tractofU. 

No one is in a position to, prove 
Ghosh wrong. However, the younger 
generation of the aamindars is far 
happy about the Mtuation. Says Anupam, 
Rabindranath Gho^’s son, “Look, the 
fishermen were murdered at the place 
where the fishing rights are held by 
Parmanik and Qiani Mia to whom we 
leased out our rights for 90 years. But 
our names are being drag^ in un- 
necessarily. We are sick of this whole 
business. I hope we lose our fishuig 
rights." The contractors too claim to be 
the underdogs: “1 know nothing about 
the munder.llie GMA is creating prob- 
lems unnecessarily." 

Ail the same, the livelihood of the 
25,000-odd fishermen of the region con- 
tinue to be at stake; while many of them 
are moving to calmer waters of Uttar 
Pradesh, most of them are trying to 
make the best of what they have. 
Forty-eight-year-old Sheikh Jangli, who 
barely manages to earn Rs 300 a numth, 
has to pay about Rs 600 as “tax" to the 
contractor every year; After paying this 
“tax" he is issiM a certificate which 
gives him the permission to use only a 
small fishing net to catch small fish. To 
use a fishing net of any other size, he 
would have to pay the same amount of 
“tax" once again. If he wants to use a 
fishing net of yet another size, he will be 
asked to deposit the “tax" for the third 
time. 

To top it all, there is the constant 
threat from crkninals who, like croco- 
dtes, are more deadly in the waters. 
Expbins Kapil Dev, another poor fisher- 
man: “Fish supply in the river is already 
deleted because the pankbafs men 
msdke more money by catching the 
spawns. But we cannot sail very for fsr a 
better catch. We are scared of the 
criminals who loot our catch and snatch 
away our fishing nets." 

Organisations, naturally, have 
mushroomed to protect the fishermen 
; and their «4d^ts to fish but the results of 
, their efforts have been far from hopeful. 
Tlie Sampi^ Kranti Manch, that was 
lai)^id|nf 11^ the followers of Jayaprakash 
bUMlK and its subsidiaries Oke the 


GMA se^t a delegatkin to Bihar dnef 
minister Bmdesha^ Dub^ urging him 
to aboliah the pamdkri system. The chief 
minister is then tepartiea to have en- 
quiry of his chief secretary whether the 
aaadndari system really existed in his 
state. Later, Dubey promised to abolish 
the system by introdudrig an ordinance 
that would plug the kx^dioles in the 
Zamindari Abofitkm Act But nothing 
happmied. In April this year, the SKM 
organised a spectacular boat rally from 
Kurshella to Patna, a distance of 3^ 
km, to protest against the oppression of 
fishermen. Finally, inOctoberthis year, 
the GMA urged the fishermen to stop 
paying the “taxes". “We were forced to 
take this extreme step," says Vjjay 
Kumar Vqay, a GMA toder. 

Amidst die furore over the murder of 
the fishermen, CM Dubey said that he 
would introduce the ordinance. But that 
is yet to be. Last month when this 
correspondent met revenue commis- 
sioner Puri— whose department is sup- 
posed to look into the problems arising 
out of the pamdari system— he said: 
“We are still not quite clear about the 
legal aspects. The le^ department has 
b^ asked to examine tte problem. 1 
am not yet sure whether we can issue an 
ordinance when the case is sub judke.** 
At the instance of the GMA the 
fidiermen seem determined not to pay 
“taxes" to the panidars but that cannot 
prevent the lawlessness on the banks of 
the Gau^ The criminals are in fact 
capit^sing on the GMA’s activities by 
blaming the GMA for their crimes. 
Bihar's IG (CID) D.N. Sahay who visited 
Bhagalpur recendy, said: “There are 
any number of criminals in the area 
including some GMA activists." On the 
other hand, the director-general of 
polioe, S.M. Roy, says that the police 
force is hamficapped in dealing with the 
riverine criminals. According to him they 
are a problem not only in Bhagalpur but 
along the entire stretch of the Gangs in 
the state because the vast stretches of 
marshy land along the river are a no 
man's land which aOows the criminals the 
kind of manoeuvrability that is only 
possible in the jungles nf Chamhal, 

In this tragedy, everyone claims to be 
a suffeipr. The police plead helpless- 
ness; the GMA activists feel 
“threatened by the police"; the fisher- 
men are expk^ed; the panidars claim to 
be maliffied by the press; and the 
fisheries department officials maintain 
that the state’s firii production would 
increase four-fold but to the politics and 
crime around the river waters. And, of 
course, no one is able to provide any 
plausil^ explanation as to why exactly 
the 12 fishermen were killed. 


60 


SUNDAYS-'^ January 1988 




BTJgiNgSS ^^ 

( COPKINGOAS ) 

Keeping the home 
fires burning 

Cooking gas shortages will continue to plague consumers, unless production 


T his is one queue which never 
seems to get shorter. For years 
the government has struggled 
against the tide to wipe out the waiting 
list for cooking gas connections. But, try 
as tliey may-and they have made a 
heroic effort, putting in nearly nine 
million new amnections between 1980- 
81 and now — the waiting lists still 
stretch over the horizon. Says D. C. 
[.ahiri, chief sales manager, Hindustan 
Petroleum: “As per the Seventh Plan 
some 1.5 million applications are cleared 
every year, but they are immediately 
replaced by an equal number of new 
applications." 

So far the number of applications 
show no sign of decreasing. On the 
contrary, all the indications are that they 
will keep growing — and Rowing. There 
are approximately 2.3 million people still 
waiting for gas connections. At present 
more than one million tonnes of cooking 
gas is sold in cylinders. But this is still 
rising sharply- by 1990 the production 
of cookmg gas will have almost doubled 
to 1.8 nuUion tonnes. And by the magic 
year 2000 AD annual demand is likely to 
bounce upwards once again to 3.6 million 
tonnes. 

And even then in all likelihood the 
three nationalised oil companies- Indian 
Oil Corporation (IOC), Hindustan Pet- 
roleum and Bharat Petroleum which 
market cooking gas— will only have 
scratched the sui^ce. Each year the 
three companies move into new towns 
and regions creating new markets and 
fresh demand. In the last one year alone 
they have moved into 54 new towns, 
some in relatively remote regions like 
Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh and 
Cachar in Assam. And the oil companies 
are still aiming ambitiously to stretch 
their tentacles further. On the agenda at 
the moment are plans to move to every 
town which has a population of 20,000. 
Says an industry offidal: 'The market is 


capacity is increased 

unlimited." 

In the cities too, demand is still racing 
far ahead of availability. In Delhi, for 
instance, the waiting list has hovered at 
around five lakhs for the last three 
yeats. In Calcutta, the number of people 
on the waiting list has gone up from 
71.000 in October 1985 to 92,800 in 
October 1987. And in other parts of the 
country the story is the same. In Gujarat 
there are more than 3.5 lakh people on 
the waiting list out of which 1.5 lakh 
people are in Ahmedabad alone. 

T he reason for the runaway popular- 
ity of cooking gas or Liquefied 
Petroleum Gas (LPG) as it is also 
known, is not difi^' ult to understand. For 
a start, gas is qiite simply the most 


A line of empty cylinders: welting for a refill 



convenient cooking fuel available in the 
country today. Added to that is the fact | 
that government subsidies have helped j 
to make LPG the cheapest fuel available- j 
-cheaper, in fact in some ways tlian | 
kerosene which was supposed to be the | 
poor man's fuel. Says an IOC official: | 
“Thirty years ago LPG was a rich man's ! 
product, ten years back it was a middle | 
income group product, today even ' • 
lower income groups have access tc 
Keeping up with the explosive oe- j 
mand for cooking gas has not been an | 
easy job. llie consumption of cooking { 
gas has risen in leaps and bounds from | 



The reason tof the runaway i 

populaftty of cooking ps is not j 
daiiculltoiiiideritiiid.Tliegs8i8 | 
simpiy the most wnvenient cookm g | 
fudavafaUeinthecountiytoday. 

AddedtoWsistliefacttliat i 
gov enwnent sub sidies have made : 
LKthediMM Mavaiabte | 

1.76 lakh tonnes in 1970-71 to 4 lakh * 
tonnes in 1980-81 and over 12 lakh ; 
tonnes in 1985-86. Refinery capacity j 
which kept pace with demand in the i 
early 70s has also risen slarply from 1.6 ! 
lakh tonnes in 1970-71 to 8.6 lakh tonnes | 
in 1985-86. 

At every stage the oil complies have ! 
faced shortages beyond their control. ! 
Over the years the industry .has gone 
through a series of crises. The first 
result of the excessive demand for 
cooking gas was a shortage of cylinders 
which was then followed by a shortage of 
accessory equipment like regulators and 
valves. 


aUMlAV 3-9 JwiuMy 1908 


61 





Contumers qiMuIng up with empty gee cyllnclere; perennial ehoitagee 


But the iniduatzyi has been pouring in' 
money to overconie the shortages and 
the results are sbwlybeginring to show. 
IOC which is the Isngest of the three 
companies, with almost 50 per cent of 
the market share, will be almost doubl- 
ing its bottling capacity in the near 
future. Similarly, Wndustan Petroleum 
will have 10 new bottling plants ready by 
end-ld88. Even in the eastern region 
where gas has perenni^ been in short 
si^y, two new bottlii^ plants which 
will come in stream by mid- 1088 will go a 
long way to ending shortages, ^ys 
Lahiri of Hindustan Petroleum: “In 
|4iase three of the LPG expansion the oil 
industry has spent Rs 935 crores to 
set-up bottling plants." 

But that is not to say that the 
problems of the industry are anywhere 
near over. Far from it. The waiting lists 
atretch far into the future and even the 
industry's ambitious expansion plans are 
not likely to be enough to cope with it. In 
north India, for instance, there are 2.4 
million peo^e using gas and another one 
million on the waiting lists. And there is 
little likelihood that this pattern is likely 
to change. 

The popularity of cooking gas has, 
however, not necessarily meant a trail of 
satisfied customers. As is only too 
well-known dissatisfied customers are a 
dime a dozen and they mostly centre 
around the fact that after all these years 
it is still infernally difficult at times to get ' 
fresh cylinders. The worst hit in recent i 


ixpiiidiiig iii6 cooUiig 

Mh * ttitiHtflillvInifHnftniril 
awmdiereltcflmMWi 
rapaciiMnttonphljFdflpMinf 
itocki./UiotiisdmindiWgiM^ 

fSTOuuinppoQiVMDMiyinino 

cmntnrandLPGiiiiow impoitod 


years has been Calcutta which has seen 
frequent shortages. N. Chatteijee, a 
Calcutta-based customer echoes the 
complaints of many others when he 
says: “The situation is fiir from ideal. 1 
get a cylinder within four or five days if I 
am lucky. ” Adds another irate customer. 
“Indian Oil's statement that a customer 
gets a refill cylinder witlun 24 hours is a 
myth." 

Despite the grouses, however, there 
is little doubt that the era of acute 
shortages seems to be over. Nowadays 
in most urban areas luxuries like double 
I cylinders are relatively common — 
almost 30 p^ cent of LPG-users have 
availed of this feicility which comes for 
the relatively cheap price of Rs 450 
extra. 

And in one city, Bombay, the waiting 
list has been sliced down to size con- 
siderably. In some parts of the dty, 
officials say new connections are avail- 
able almost over the counter. But a 
complete end to cooking gas shortages 
is still obviously a very long way off. 
government is committed to expanding 
the cooking gas network rapidly, espe- 
cially in some rural areas where it comes 
as a replacement to rapidly depleting 
firewood stocks. Also the demai^ for 
gas has far outstripped availability in the 
country and LPG is now being imported. 

Despite these diffkxilties, however, 
the demand for cooking gas can, for the 
time being only keep going up- The 
harsh flurt is that thm are no viable 
alternatives— 4he electricity supply in 
this country is far too erratic, and other 
options like solar ^rgy too seem a 
very long way off. And so for the time 
being it is LPG which is likely to hold the 
fort in the kitdien. 

NmIIiiI DMgiipta wWi bneeM 


Qm fractionating cdumnt of tho LPG plant at Uran: Incraaaa In capacity aaaantlal 



ffwiwris 







|S,“cS»t 


1 

SS!SS2S^>s„ 1 

K2^**^’i982 1 
pto»ably I 

writ while the gomg » good- 

f f oanwlule. gpecula^ 

s:g¥srs^ 

SSSSfilffiist 



sssass^ 

activities. a»« 

“^“Ss2r 

BounasHtesBOuWateO 



KS^lr 1 iF^'s»s 

ofauiuon-bustingiinage. eastern see- 

1 1 ’’SSTwW’S^”’*' 

SSS*"” 

Ws& 

r'The”?Sosetupthe 1 ^;S^^rators. G«- 
13KSS»2;S^ luaSS''^™" 



aforewarncu.. 

• \ cnce* ^iJiA o®sa^ 



Y 




tjcoNOiirr 

KEWAL VARMA 


Testing times ahead 


Despite the drought, foodgrain prices have remained stable so far. But there 
could he hard times ahead, unless the government changes tracks 


T he year 1987 will go down in Indian history 
as year when politics reigned supreme. 
Perhaps, the only relief from politics was 
provided by the Reliance World Cup. Our joy 
would have been more had India reached the 
finals. The century's worst drought, however, 
did not detract the attention either of Parliament 
or the media from all-consuming politics. Parlia- 
ment discussed the drought situation with empty 
benches and circulation managers of newspapers 
found that the drought story did not sell. 
Economic forces are, however, impersonal and 
they continue to raise their ugly heads. Thanks 
to the drought, the most serious economic issue 
was that of spiraUing prices and shortages. Two 
neutralising influences were at work: fo’st, Rajiv 
Gandhi thought that by over-playing the drou^t 
issue, he would succeed in relieving the political 
pressures on him. The government more than 
anybody else, started making noises about the 
drought situation quite early. For our national 
economy the drought proved a blessing in 
disguise. In order to n^e its noises appear 
credible the government levied a drought sur- 
charge and started beating its breast in front of 
aid>agencies. The World Bank and Japan acted 
bke Santa Claus and offered special drought aid. 

For the finance minister, in fact, drought has 
been good business. In the name of the drought, 
the finance minister will be making a gain of Rs 
600 to Rs 700 crores for the national exchequer 
in the current financial year. As far as the 
government is concerned, the country has had 
the best drought management so far. There 
have been no shortages. Developmental expend- 
iture, instead of being reduced, was increased 
for irrigation. The drought had no effect on the 
market. Take, for instance, edible oils. The 
market was literally flooded with imported edible 
oils. There were little or no shortages and long 
queues, which were a fiuniliar sight during 
previous droughts, were hardly in evidence. The 
only shortage was of onions, but that too for a 
small period of time. The drought did not bring 
any special pressure on foreign exchange ba- 
lances. 

In comparison with the other year, this year’s 
drought has been a cakewalk. Along witii the 
timely action by the there yffds the fact 
that since the last dn^fnt, the economy has 
become stronger and more resilient. The most 
demonstrative evidence of tNs^aa the 23 
million tonnes foodstock at the'Oqgkiiugg ol the 
drought. To add to that irrigadt^ Ws ^|mn 
expanding continuously. As a resiite, the 
procurement of Jlchan/ cereals, mainly 




V.P.Sitigh blindly 


Ileasinoinics. 
PMsMent Reagan 
nducedtnesin 
theUSAandao 
dMVMmnnalli 
PMapSingbin 
ImKb. Reagan 
incfiilMl 


delidti,VJ». 

SbsbdbUlie 

Hnin.TliM»enAi 

.■ -■> - 

iMilllllUniMi 

jap ffffe dUI 

iiiiii pnRi MHn w 
nMiillillPIKII 


this year of drought, will be only marginally less 
than last year. Fortunately, when some parts of 
the country reeled under severe drought, the 
rest of the country experienced floods. Result: 
there will be a bumper rabi crop which will make 
up. to a great extent, the shortfall in the kbarif 
production. Also the proportion of thermal 
power in the total power generation picture has 
increased and the ^nt load factor, Le., efficien- 
cy of thermal stations has also improved. As a 
result, power shortage has not become as acute 
as it used to be in previous drought years. 
Hence, the effect of the drought on industrial 
production has been marginal in the current 
financial year. Industrial production is likely to 
show an increase of about seven per cent. 

As the year drew to a close, onions were 
selling at less than Rs three a kilo and 
potatoes at less than Rs two a kilo. With the 
dawn of the new year , the worst of the drought- 
induced inflation, was perhaps, over. If the 
Opposition was expecting god-g^ed drought to 
supplement the Bofbrs stick to beat Riyiv Gandhi 
with, it should be feelmg disappointed at the end 
of the year. 

This, however, does not mean that the dark 
clouds of inflation have cleared from India's 
economic skies. The danger of inflation from 
economic failures is still luiking--and the danger 
is very real. The source of tills danger is the 
reckless fiscal and monetary profligacy indulg^ 
in by the Centre and some states since R^v 
Gandhi came to power three years Ra^v 
Gandhi’s erstwhile finance minister. Vishwanath 
Pratap Singh, was the most enthusiastic execu- 
tor of this reckless act of irrespemsibility. V.P. 
Singh blindly followed Reaganomics. President 
Reagan reduced taxes in the USA and so did 
Vishwanath Pratap Singh in India. Reagaii in- 
creased non-development g^emment expendi- 
ture; Vishwanath Pratap Singh did the same. 
Reagan increased budgetary deficits, V.P. Snigh 
did the same. Ibere ends the similarities. For 
Reagan did not print dollars to meet the deficit. 
Instead he borrowed surplus dollars accumulated 
by Japan and West Germ^ny and bndged the 
deficit. As a result there were no inflationary 
pressures in the American economy. Unlike 
dollars, the Indian rupee is not worth the paper 
pn which it is printed. No foreign, country 
accumulates Indian rupees. Hence, Vishwanath 
Pratap Sinffli had to ni^e one cnidal departure 
from Reaganomics. He had to ^t notes and 
divert part of the bank funds, whigh were earlier 
going to the private sector,, to bridge the 
budgetary defidts. 

tUMBAyMJwgW 


64 




As a resuh, fiscal deficits were compounded 
by excessive monetary expansion. Though V.F. 
Singh was forced to leave the Cabinet, his 
economic policies continue. For the last three 
yearSk high-powered money, which is potentially 
inflationary, has been cxpandng at the rate of 17 
per cent per annum. In the last 12 months, for 
instance, the currency with the public has 
increasi^ by about 40 per cent and the total 
notes in circtdati^ by about 75 per cent. 1 otal 
supplies and availability of goods and services, 
however, are increasing by around five per cent. 
In other words, too much money is chasing too 
few goods. When the inevitable will happen, is 
anybody’s guess. But there are no signs yet of 
the powers-that-be sitting up and doing some- 
thing to defuse this time bomb. 

T he chief reason for this sorry state of 
a&irsis that Rajiv Gandhi styles himself 
after Mohammad Shah Rangeela. To celebrate 
hte ascendancy to the throne, Rajiv Gandhi in 
grand Mogul style threw open the doors of his 
exchequer: there were Apiia Utsavs, festivals, 
expansion of subsidised air traffic, colour TVs, 
lowering of taxes, interim reliefs, dearness 
allowances and upward wage revision and what 
not. The expenditure on government employees 
alone increased by three percentage points of 
the GNP. llie DA formula is such as it will eat up 
an additional one percentage point of the GDI^ 
evdily year, llie royal wedding at Gwalior and 
the Cabinet meeting at Sariska have heralded 
the era of merry-making. Why not? We Indians 
have toiled for long and now it is time to relax. 

While poverty persists, there is another 
serious economic problem which has surfaced, 
'fliis is unemployment, lliere has been a 
qualitative deterioration in this regard, in recent 
years, for two reasons. First, when the country 
was in the first phase of the green revolution, 
agriculture was absorbing labour. But now the 
country has entered the second phase of the 
same revolution, hi this second phase the 
absorption of labour has declined. In six states, 
there been a net decline of labour employed 
in agricul6ire. In seven states, the absorption of 
labour in agriculture is increasing at a rate lower 
than the increase in population. Only in two 
states, West Bengal and Bihar, labour absorp- 
tion in agriculture is higher than the rate of 
gro^ of the population. Second, automation in 
die industrial sector is now growing so fast that 
the rate of growth of labour absorption in the 
factory sector has declined perceptibly. As a 
result the number of educated unemployed has 
stalled increasing at a fast pace. This has 
become a serious economic cause of socio- 
political destabilisation. This is because in the 
wake of weakening appeal of nadonalist and 
leftist ideology, educate unemployed youth are 
getting attract^ to fundamentalist, secessionist 
and mutant movements. Perhaps, more than the 
acKSII^ liberaliaation and moderrisation, India 
bouM take a few lessons ftom China, which in 
kfat years has provided ei|^t crores of 
jobs, outside the agriculture sector, in rural 



IlKdMreMon 
fbrtMssony 
ilitedafMnii 
that Rajiv GandM 
ityteshliiiaatt 
aflarMohamniail 
ShahRangaefak 
TocaMvateMi 
HggmlllKytollw 
RvoiietRijiv 
Ml! in grand 
(Mitt dM 
mrawopMiim 
OOOIfOIIRI 
iXdMNMil'HiThB 

nyitwidifcifit 

fiftirtitfinitiilinir 

/. in nipvv 


areas. 'Die growing numbers of educated unem- 
ployed pose serious problems today. 

Fiscal profligacy has also resulted in the 
diversion of funds, particularly those of tonks 
and financial institutions, from the private sector 
to the public. Only recently the finance ministry 
decided to divert Rs 1,000 crores from the Unit 
Trust of India to the public sector. I1ie sum in 
normal course should have come from the 
budget. The £ipvemment is pre-empting funds 
from commercial banks for the public sector by 
offering tax-free bonds, llius, what the govern- 
ment ^ve to the corporate sector in the name of 
liberalisation with its right hand was taken back 
substantially by the left hand. As a result, the 
boom of the share market has peteted out. 
The price of shares of the market leader, 
Reliance, which was about to touch Rs 400 has 
now tumbled down to Rs 100. The Reserve 
Bank Index of Ordinary Shares wMch crossed 
250 in April 1986 has now slumped to 200, i.e. , a 
25 per cent fall. The share mai^et’s honeymoon 
with Rqjiv Gandhi is over. 

In any case, in the overall economic context, 
share markets account for only a small part of the 
nation’s activities. Rajiv Gancfti wanted to give a 
new turn to the economics of the country, 
making a break from Indira Gandhi's policies, 
llic essence of Rajiv Gandhi’s economics was 
the retreat of the public sector and liberalisation. 
The key component of this was import liberalisa- 
tion. On both these counts, he has run into rough 
weather, llie needs of the public sector continue 
to be massive. As regards development, the 
pubfic sector has the responsibility of: human 
resource development, particularly education, 
health and family planning; anti-poverty and 
employment generation programmes; develop- 
ment of infrastructure, particularly power, 
irrigation, railways and roads; programmes to 
prevent ecological degradation so that we have 
clean water to drink and clean air to breathe and 
modernisation of the existing public sector 
assets, lliis along with the n^s of national 
security requires massive resources which 
would mean that the private sector will have to 
be content with left-over resources. Similarly, 
^ scope of external liberalisation has been 
limited by Ae setback to the economic outlook of 
the capitalist world. The latest estimates of the 
Organisation for Economic Cooperation and 
Development show that soon after the collapse 
of the work! share markets, the growth rate of 
the 24 most advanced capitalist countries 
slumped to 2.75 per cent in 1987 and is expected 
to be 2.5 per cent in 1988 and 1.75 per cent in 
1989. There is no need to have innovations in 
economic strategy, as doing more of the same 
thing after a time leads to the law of dimuiishing 
returns. But the removal of poverty and employ- 
m^ generation may seem hackneyed economic 
bl^ectives to computer whiz-kids. Unless sub- 
stantial success is achieved in this regard, 
whatever econotnic growth the country might 
achieve will not be worth the cost it will have to 
pay. 0 


swisays-ajiMd^ 


66 



oy^overRavtaant ' 
Hen comes *'Ensm- 
ble”. It’s the latest ill 
cMc and style that can 
be ofiered under one 
roof for those who not only have money 
but have a passion for style. Five yuppie 
designers are behiod this latest idea to 
hit South Bombay. Said Tarun Tahiliani 
of Ahilian, ’’Indians spend enormous 
amounts in Paris, London and New York 



to buy value-added clothes, made in 
India. We can now give them those same 
things here. Apofushavewoikedwith 
designers abbrnul. Under this roof, you 
have Abu Jani, ^andeep Khosla, who has 
worked with the British designer Anne 
Campbdl and Ifohit Khosla who studied 
at the Kingston College of Fashion in 
Ensfond and has worM with some of 
the leading houses of desiffi in Milan and 
New York. His most recent assignment 
was with one of the couture designers 
for Albert Nippon." 


For the yuppie designers this » a 
whole new profession: selling desigier 

dotto. The changing lifestyles m Bom- 
bay, the enorrnous amount of dispos^ 
incoine floating around in Bondiay, the 
serkaisbusiness-likesociaiisingsea- 
aons—whethermarriageorfertive--- 
have provided a wide and varied canvas 
for young designers to seB good doftw. 

Bombay, despite being avwif/pwxtew^ 
Jh»s and dhrome shopping ccaitres and 
arcades, never had any place where one 
could buy cfothes Which had style or a 
meticukHis finish. The moat important 
reason for the bike in the demand for ^ 
readymade clodies has been the scarcity 
of tailors, most of whom have eitlier 
gone to the Gulf or joined fectocies. 

But there was a kjk of money flowing 
around and enteiprising ’society women' 
like Parmeshwar Godrni and NandU 
Sen (capitalised on this demand. Overthe 
last few years one has witnessed the 
mushrooming of quite a few art gdleries 
like Aakar and Cymrosa, where people 
who "designed" dothes would make a 
fimited number and sell them Fashion 
anfoled from exhibition to eidubitioa 
There were others who woriied from 
their homes, because, noone could 
i^rd a regular shop. Soon everyone’s 
sister, daughter or wife was in the 
business of selling expensive dothes. 
One couM have a turnover of Rs 30,000 
a month just sitting at home and hiring « 
out a few tailors. As the afOuent resi- 
dents of Ne^ Sea Road, Malabar Ha 


to the grcming and bulging d« 
wedda^ trousseaus for the SindMaidli^ ; 
Giqaratidientefe who come dl the way ^ 

foomNewYorkandHongKoiigfac 4 > 
weddings-made-iii-India. 


Pnsemble could materialise in a piffle 
Evocation in south Bombay because 
it's a division of Taverns r 


Tf one had to pay for real estate, the 
mark up on the dothes would be exorbi- 
tant here and even those with disposabte;, 
income would not think of spending Rs 
25,000 to Rs 30,000 on an evening outfit,'* 

TanmTahiliani and his wife Sal are 
graduates from theUniversity of Penn- 
sylvania in PhOadelpUa where he studied 
economics and she studied marketing 
and management Tarun likes to stress 
that they ate selling "style" as against 
“foshion". Fashion, he says, goes in 
trends and waves. It’s a reta&r's dream 
to change foshtons so that his merchan- 
dise moves constantly. Style never goes 
out— 4t is individual and classic. In the 
world of foshion you have the Japanese 
influence, the Sp^h, the Turkish and 
Moroccan. Butthereisnolndianinflu- 


ence or statement of fashion and we 
hoi:^ in the long run to provide this. 
Indfo’s heritage has bera purloined by 
Western designers or it is shown as an 
extravaganzaor an exotic oddity, at 
Festivals of India. 

This may sound ambitious. But to 
begin with they have five foflowmg 
dififoient styles. Ahilian is the laba under 
which Tarun TahyM worked wift 

KundalinO. BapaDhrangadhtaa^ 
Naseem Khan have created! lipe of 
ladies suits and co-ordinates bisedon 
men’s stytesmMoiMniiniatures. The 
rnateriab they work with are lame, 
jamevars, tissues, chiffons, etc. 

RoMt Khote works ainmt entirely in 
raw silks and solid colours. His designs 
! are in^ared by the uniformed guards of 
Rasbtf^ti Bhaiaad'arKi this is vei^ 
disoernible in his cfodies. Jashan is the 
label used by Abujani and Sand^ 
Khoab who have succeeded in creatiQ^ 
sQde of subdued opulence and abund- 
ance. For instanoex just! chunniia nine 
yards of unstretched 
cfochfoe Anita Shivdasam and 
^ Kjgmor whohmre beendesi^g 
' IpgetlierfoBcxiib^^ 

Peahwajaiid Bho^ styfo fo 
cade, tmAoi, tiaaueandtaidintogive 
a HMie vibraitt, indivkiiiaB^ 

llKfftaNfoAoiaaya. Sunlta, whose 
ifratcustoiiier was ttmatuonfog ab^ 
)iaMteryeai»Miiiiit|a, baa made about 70 
Outfits to bf^wkb. 

An Anfotim designer NalBieffw^ 
aelfo exdbsi^ through hfo sh^^ 
at l»l» rafo Avenifo and Hei^ 
mMewYoik, k ledfoghfo fmiductiom 

^Sriledibiei^^ beads 


.W'lA'noN 


The magnificent men in 
their flying machines 


Unlike in the US, personal aviation in liuiia 
Ls largely a corporate activity anil 
there are a handful of individuals 
owning private planes 



A t one time it was the toy of 
the rich. Munificent men 
hopp^ on to their flying 
machines and took to the 
skies for the sheer joy of 
flying. For the maharajahs and eccentric 
millionaires it was a mode of transport 
befitting their stature. Like their horses, 
the royalty from Jaipur. Darbhanga, 
Faridkot had their fijeaming fleet of 
planes .the Cessnas, Beechenift Bonan- 
zas. painted with the family insignia 
waiting to wing their way across their 
own strip of the blue sky. Today a 
number of these flying machines lie as 
junk in the royal backyards. Some have 
been sold to the new mahan^s. the 
industrialists and some to ambitious 
state governments. 

In fact, personal aviation today ki India 
(unlike the US where an estimated 
300.000 individuals own private airc||^) 
is largely a corporate activit:^,: (|^t|^ 
corporations that own plants in 
remote locations often truispoit 
executives in antiquated sin|^ of twfe * 
engined planes to the factory site. An^ 






''V. 










^ Pr . ‘p - ' ^ ^ 


r* 


flying in private aircraft is expedient to 
save predpus managerial time— to en- 
sure decisions are taken on time and 
disasters are averted. At the last count 
the official government list of dreraft 
with vafid airworthiness certificatdi on 
31 December, 1986, numbered 706. 
This was inciUBtve of aO the planes hi the 
country ownmi by Indian Airfities, 
Vayudoot, the flying clubs, ffie state 
l^vemmenffi' and public and private . 
4|ectm cirgttiisations. However, acoord- 
Mg to an official in the directorate of dv|l, 
50 percent, dtf 
are airwdrt^ 


Of this depl^ed figure a large num- 
ber of the aircraft, are owned by 
corporations. A hantfliil of individuals— 
the Flying Swami, Dhtrendra 
Brahmachaii Dr S. Bhave, J.D. Sukl^, 
Mrs IL Vartak from Pune— are also 
proud possessors of this flamboyant 
symbol of capdalisni* 

Corikintions owning private planes 
ate api^ imthe cixintiy an^ 
them ate welMoiown names: the Tatas, 
Birtas, the Bgighgiuns^ Gammon Indis. 
Indba jSxpIdAives^ UdcAmi Machiiie 
Wbiks, NI|dN$ffiandMa^^ to meiilkn 
abwtdthepri^ 

canTtpkd ^is.^ be^ 

hemothi ibM miveepi^ 

.across die mgM^ imd br^ 

^country 





mm?' 




Beechcratt Bonanza, 1948-49 model 


Ce9»na 180, 1964 model 







Steel Authority of India, Kudremukh 
Iron Ore Company, eta/to keep in touch 
with their isir*fh^ operations. And 
when their own. aircraft is out of oom- 
itiission, the Modi-run DeSii Gulf Air- 
way (DGA), which charters aircraft to 
anyone who can shell out Rs 12^000 per 
hour for a six-^er plane, is wOling to 
come to the rescue. 

Founded in Fehruacy 1982; the DGA 
has within a short span of ' five yeSrs 
oiniercd a sizeabfo market, cataing for 
its clients* varied needs ^ a fleet of 
nine choppers and a solitary foced wing 
aircraft, liie 14 pilots-who m on the 
payrofls of the DGA often fly their 
akicieft for dfoerse activkj|es: spraying. 

. kmeetkadfo over sugarcane. ot' .ootton* 

jor'.; 


Commission too is one of the DGA's 
notable clienta and contributes an annyal 
amount of Rs 48 lakhs to the DGA 
coffers. The other clients are equally 
illustrious— Reliance Industries, the 
Thapar Group, and of course, the prop- 
rietors, foe Modis themselves. 

Kudremukh Iron Ore Co. Ltd boi^t 
a Chetak helicopter "as a necessity” in 
1976 soon after its nceptkm. The com- 
pany management soon discovered that 
supervising the work of la^ a 67 km 
pfoeline betweeii Kudreimilfo and Man^ 
alore,wfaidi often entafied work in foe 
forests of the Western Ghats, was a 
tough job, as the roads were bad. Once 
fhe^fipeline work was obmpleted, the 
cpogiany began to use the helioopt^ 
forty executives from Bangriore to 
Maifoslofe. Aft^ foat, foe 674cm dis- 
foooe from Mangalore to Kixiremukh 
was covered in a swift 20 mimites in the 
company's chopper. 


I mughals though Indian Railways, 
Mysore Paper Mills and a few other 
south-based companies have also rented 
the chopper. 

For Coal India which has to send out 
executive s to supervi se operations in its 
scattered mines in tiunipur, Ranchi, 

I Korba,and a host of others dependence 
I on scheduled flints is not always a 
jHactical proposition. To ensure trouble- 
; free, on-time executive travel, Coal 
India maintains its own aircraft— a 
seven-seater, 40-year-old Twin Beech 
D18-5 bought from the Orissa govern- 
ment in 1981 and a six-seater Baron-58 
bought from the Haiyana government in 
1986. Both planes have twin piston 
engines and are capable of flying upto 
800 miles without refuelling. Maintained 
at 8 cost of Rs 9,000 per month the 
aircraft has flown many VIPs induding 
the Prime Minister. 





MnMer of cornmofco. Dm Munshl with Capi Trahan of DQA: an axpanalva hobby? 


jBerhaps the most hi^h-profile user 
tr of a small aircraft these days is 
the politician Whether it is a meeting that 
the minister has to attend a few 
hundred kilometres away itom the state 
capital or a rumour of a likely reshuffle of 
the cabinet ministry which has to be 
verified In the capital, or even a private 
visit to his hometown, he just hops into 
a government-owned aircraft and takes 
off for his destination. 

The Madhya Pradesh government 
spends around Rs 70 lakhs annually to fly 
its VIPs in and out. Besides, the state's 
aviation department allots Ks 14 lakhs 
every year towards wages for main 
tenance personnel— the en^neers and 
mechanics, 'fhe state's solitary Super 
King 11-seater plane, which was purch- 
ased in September '83 at a cost of Rs 
2.18 crores from Craft Corporation of 
USA, was replaced when it developed 
technical snags. There is a Chetak 
helicopter which was acquired by the 
state government in 1981, 

Both these aircraft are, however, fast 
nearing the end of their life span as the 
Super King has already clocked 3460 
flying hours and the Chetak 1710 hours. 
Besides, the government frequently 
hires the four-seater SAIL plane to ferry 
around its VIPs at a rental of Rs 18,000 
per hour, another which stands 
witness to the state’s chief minsiters’ 
preference for air travel. 

Aijun Singh's penchant for hopping 
into a small aircraft at the slightest 
opportunity is well-known. Singh's trips 
to Delhi during his tenure as th^ MP 
chief minister is legion. Very often, te , 
would use the plane for personal p^/ 
poses too — and would fly to his home in 
Sidhi district to attel^a puja. But though 


he is no long& the chief minsiter, his 
extravagant ways have not been curbed: 
he still visits his home state in a Delhi 
Flying Club aircraft, and every trip costs 
the public exchequer Ks 40,000. 

Motilal Vora, though not as frequent 
an air 'traveller as Singh, set a record of 
sorts, which few have b^n able to rival: 
as vace-chairman of Madhya Pradesh 
State Transport Corporation and later as 
the president of the MPCC(l), he made 
it a point to visit each of the state's 45 
districts by plane! But Vora is quick to 
point out that he, unlike Atjun Singh, has 
never used the government's aircraft for 
personal purposes. Critics nevertheless 
assert that Vora is too generous with the 
govememnt's planes which are often 
used to transport non-government offi- 
cials. Also, the fact that Vora had 
allowed Madhavrao Scindia to use 
the aircraft on his whirlwind tour of the 
state — the MP government had to foot 
the bill of Rs 3.47 lakhs — was reason 
enough for the Opposition to attack the 
Vora regime. 

Gundu Rao, the former chief minis- 
ter of Karnataka too was notorious for 
his inclination to use the state's Chetak a 
little too often and it is even alleged that 
Rao preferred to fly over distances that 
could have easily been covered on foot! 
The state also owns a four-seater Cessna 
172 besides the controversial Chetak. 

B esides government agencies and 
corporations, the Flying Clubs pos- 
sess snndl ^iscraft for training would be 
fliers. V^'hiiethe two Pushpaks owned by 
, th^ Behala Flying Club in Calcutta are 
I uied tte dub for training, the pride of 
Club is the spanking new 
I jw Cessna, which the club has 


acquired on lease from the Aero Club of 
India. The latter, patronised by none 
ether than flying-enthusiast and former 
pilot Rajiv Gandhi, recently purchased 
21 Cessnas, and have given all the flying 
clubs situated over the different parts d 
the country one aircraft each on lease. 

Though officials of the Calcutta Flying 
Club are^happy to display their new toy 
they point out that the flying scenario in 
the country is not very encouraging. 
Even the state government they say find 
it difficult to plod through a maze of 
official papers to get the necesary per- 
mission. Even then, the necessary 
approval is not forthcoming. For inst- 
ance the West Bengal government had 
sought permission for the purchase of a 
four-seater Cessna 'Skynight* almost 
three-four years ago. The proposed air- 
craft would help in imparting advanced 
training to their members and also ferry 
around VIPs when required they 
argued. But so far, despite the interven- 
tion of chief minsiter Jyoti Basu, permis- 
sion has not been granted. 

Besides those bureaucratic tangles 
maintaining the two Pushp^k aircraft has 
become a drain on the club’s meagre 
resources. 'I'he manufacturers of the 
Pushpak, Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, 
have stopi^d manufacturing the 
Pushpak and hence, spares are difficult 
to obtain and any spare parts that are 
required have to be specially ordered 


Adream 

f, Jiain A 

lUnMCI 

1 8 « daU lii» ifMmt Ui MtSagni ^ 
Uk^kMoe in' northettt;Fiiil6t'‘ 

















AVIATION 


from the manufacturer which takes at 
least three-four years. 

The technical difficulties notwith- 
standing, the purchase of an aircraft by a 
^non-sdieduled operator' is not allowed 
under the of^n general licence. It is only 
the blue-chg) companies, which can 
show a huge foreign exclumge earning, 
that is likely to get the approval. Civil 
aviation sources, however, point out 
that it is the public sector and govern- 
ment agencies which manage to get the 
approval without any difG^ty. 

But despite the problems, there still 
are people who are keen to take up 
flying. And for those interested in hob- 
by-flying, rather than pursuing it as a 
career, there is the Government Flying 
Training School in Bangalore, says Cap- 
tain S.M. Patil, principal and chief in- 
structor of the sihool. The institution 
possesses a fleet of six planes, including 



uNuiiniilifK 

V|4ipilSkR|^hwi^ 

■ram . . 



m^iwiiiudflats ofjidiu with a packet 
hecame the count's 
errtqr. Be 
I IMS, it became 

^yi^i^herec^^ 
y; once 99k m a sin^^- 
eagiitM The wheel had turned 

r^rj^ cMe Cv Tata, a man who 
maanttloeiit,. obseasion 
^ inta a mulci- 



a four-seater Cessna 172, two Cessna 
1528, two Pusiipaks and an Aeronca 
Super Chief to train its students. 

W hatever the impression that im- 
aginative copyv^ers may try to 
create, there are just a handflil of 
high-fliers who 'live life kingsize' and 
whizz about in their privately-owned 
aircraft. Industrialists like Russi Modi 
and Vijaypat Singh^ are wellknown for 
their habit of piloting their own aircraft. 
Singhania’s Dakota DC 3, is a 1945 
moM which used to be owned by Indian 
Airlines and is estimated to cost any- 
thing between Rs 25 and 30 lakhs when 
in flying condition. With a seating 


arrangement for 32 people (inchiding 
crew) it is frequently used to transport 
the company's executives to the remote 
areas where the Singhania empire has 
Sinead. It is kept in working condition by 
Airworks India, in Bombay, which ser- 
vices almost all the Dakotas still flying 
around in the country. 

Besides the Kiiloskars, who fly in and 
out for business meetings, Pune boasts 
of a number of low profile hobby fliers. 
One such enthusiast is Dr S. V. Bha\*e 
who has been “flying mentally” since he 
was in school. Interested in aero- 
modelling, Bhave’s dream was to be- 
come a ^ot but he had to follow in his 
father's footsteps and become a doctor. 
That did not deter him from pving up his 
idea of flying. He got his private pilot's 
licence (PPL) from the Bombay Flying 
Chib and from Patiala in 1963, acquired 
his own Beechcraft Bonanza in the early 
seventies for a lakh of rupees. Later, 
when that crashed in 1977, he replaced 
it with a Beechcraft Bonanza 1947 model 
for Rs 2 lakhs. 

“Flying has no meaning unless one 
hopes to achieve someth^,” says Dr 
Bhave, who not only uses his aircraft as 
a mode of transportation— -he frequently 
uses it to travel to the several places he 
has to visit as a professor of surgery— 
but also for aerial photography, '^ugh 
not many people are aware of the fact 
that Bhave is the only person who does 
professional aerid photography in the 
country, he prefers not to advertise his 
skills. Otherwise, as he confesses, he 
would have to stop being a doctor. 

As a trustee of the Pune-based Ecolo- 
gical Society, Bhave has a vast collection 
d photographs of birds and is planning to 
compile a book on bird photopsraphy. He 
has also made a film, Birds of no 
fronffer, on a species of migratory birds, 
the demoiselles crane. 

“Government permission is required 
for each photograph,” Bhave points out 
*Tou have to g^ clearance from six 
departments, which takes about three 
months. Then you have to do the 
shooting and develop the film in the 
presence of a security officer who takes 
away the photographs and gets them 
vett^". In spite of all these constraints, 
and the additional bother and cost of 
maintaining an aeroplane, Bhave is not 
discourage. 

Not even a complete overhaul of the 
aircraft which usually costs a couple of 
lakhs deters him. “It manages to keep 
me broke all the time,” he says with a 
smile, adding that though the mainte- 
nance of his aircraft is usually done at the 
Bombay Flying Club, he does the smal- 
ler jobs like cleaning, washing and the 
25-hour scheduled pre-flight mainte- 

71 


SUNDAY JwHMry tflee 



nance lumseit. 

Another Fmt reaident whose enthu- 
siasm to flying has lasted to 31 long 
years, is J. D. Sukhia, proprietor of 
Apollo Theatres. **I obtained my flying 
licence even betoe 1 got a driving 
licence,'’ says Sukhia pro^y. But that 
was only the first of the exciting exploits 
that Sukhia would go on to adiieve in 
later years. Today, he has three separate 
licences— from Germany and an 

American-rated FA, which is a commer- 
cial pilot's licence that he has not cared 
tojoonvert in India. Sukhia Iws also been 
a test pilot to the Govemnient of India, 
and has had his share of adventures. 
While testing one of the K-6 series of 
glktera, which the Germans were eager 
to export to Mia, the aircraft blew up in 
mid-air. SukUa, however, landed to 
safety in a para^te. 

Siddna's tot did not go unrecognised. 
He was invited to Germany and rein- 




bigwig 


penond avtetkn hn le^h 
aixoad and antdl jett 
Vj^(MdnMii|ilHe in Europe and tiie 
Ibn fovdcnment of Indb bt- 
/liilwi l|iat oaroing one's own p9^^ 
iai MMoe is In exttsvaganoe, ibtt 
)Sfiiiald te curbed. Thus neaify tin 
waiM sgo (1970) te Iberd imj^ 
into bdh cane to an cndi 
■% 1977, ibe lands goednoMU^ 
^Awtfier t^ddened the screws inddiK: 
Talas bar^ eacaped s Idridip cd 
. drdaft imp«!d wbsn diegr bawd 
'.'Ededb- Xdpdr ^ ytar. ' . 

Sigidicaiitiy amn dberMit Gi# 
..dbfa gawetdiiaent ntaaisdipp$n«sr»' 

' mejanamMnottaBvxaErBpporaiwai - 
reiixed. The iini'anial nline to be 
.ln90cMwailld.fftt8S4|l^ia.iAidi i 
Sufn GnOi m. IbMr a fiar , 
t p n pifti^ lato# a six sciitcr Ctowii' ! 
.Sknridter was' aoniknd bjr synd' 
■jLPuneuuia ocanmKnvi. sne nwnh 
tdk previoiia pbaw,- a aiQ|jhi;jntN' 

iMIiaM-gp nan MM BlipOvniBflD^Oiy uMI 

' JMlilH flpvmiwpis M ICOIjBNI iniF . 

nmei me un^governmeiir epcweo,» 

. le elasr .jtategDWW gi e ^ to Mpdft 
aoMi stoMt 

’flpvesnnsQta' ^ 'KflptfiaDp fwyaiHt:! 

^ ana inaaiiyg iTscMii opguicea 


I -a MM 

to i sgs. to 


• ±.^ -S„>^i-^dn m •Mm.' . . n. wn. . , . >. a 

infly C— Wl 

ItnMlfllhMHM 

^MAAmULsAmA ^LaA 

' imi|pniO|mililA|ll1n^ 

imcMMit 


vited the followto year in 1963, becom-' 
ing the ^ bxto to participate in a 
intemationai champion^ which fea- 
tured 75 contestants from Europe. 
Sukhia won the 13th position, a no mean 
tot. He was granted membership of the 
Caterpillar Cub, instituted by Pa- 






: , •V./Op 

dtafr'iieed. ' - 

BipwiePiOi uiijHi,iinEnm» me ipfwsi: 
■mjM nBmt Id aapUsTn. 

bwawwiddi Wait' mmsmB ' 

Bmiimppn ana eA!i» 

"SSmwI^iSSedfabaS"' 

iMk .-Atf .mSim ' 

■■jW MWf IMMI-T Tlltl. ■■fV ni 

AB L. ^ ■ a m _1_ I.A — 

iwjAfcreor Anerp cm avsncii 

■miO'TaBPgM bmjanaHWWiB BWn^ iiie>^ 



rachute, the leading parachute manufac- 
turers of Bn^and during the war* 

Tcxtoy, he ffies a Lusconto Stoire, a 
two-seater, singfe-engine, high wing 
1947 vintage aircraft of Anierican ori^ 
inipoited into India in the late 1940s. He 
purchased it from "an old engineering 
type of fellow in Belgaum, who never 
flew in it but kept it as a symbol of 
sorts,” Ays Sukhia. And though he is 
very secretive about the price that he 
paid to it, he Ays, he got it "real 
cheap”, pointing out that though it is 
tiny, it is the most sophisticated aircraft 
in South-east Asia, given the eqtiipmmt 
it is fitted with: automatic direction 
finder, VOR, instrument landing sys- 
tem, etc. 

Like Bhave, Sukhia frequently uses- 
his plane to fly down to Bombay from 
Pune on business. And every once in 
while, when he craves to the freedom 
that blue skies can give he hops into his 
plane. Sukhia who hA also undergone 
, aerobatic trainmg in the United States, 


hA done some stunts to films like the 
Amitabh-Zeenat starter, Pukaar, and 
BttxSyaChaaA^ Says Sukhia proudly , 
"If there's my one who can fly upside 
down, that’s me!” 

For Sukhia, Bhave and a few others, 
soaring into the blue skies seems to 
: ccxnpenAte to aU the other hAsles that 
one hA to encounter to procure and 
maintain an aircndt And tiioiigh they 
cannot recreate the same 
that J.RD. Tata did aa the ooiittry'a 
firat cMI aviator, diey re ma in dioae 
nwgnMcentmettinflieirflyiagniadih^ 





72 





Take the rough with the smooth... 




% 

t 

« 



Ideal for dry skin and minor nicks and cuts 


It is not a cosmetic 


Hrst land foremost for 
60 reassuring years 


Q D Pharmactuflcels 

Calcutta 700053 


Kcsponseiu^i 



Outside the shadows 
of the mundane 
lies creativity in colour. 



Awriter^striab 

ForR.K. Narayan, the well-known novelist, it 
was not an easy road to success 



T O get to Malgudi you take a 
train or plane to Bangalore 
and then drive southwest on 
State Highway No. 17 to- 
wards Mysore. It is the mon- 
soon season when 1 make the trip and 
heavy rain-bellied clouds shut off the 
sun. The air is pleasantly cool and 
redolent with the smell of rain-soaked 
earth. Giant banyan trees line the road. 
A smaU river, its surface overlaid with 
dirty white industrial effluent, swirls 
past a factory. Further on, a huge soft 
drink bottle by the n)adside announces 
the arrival in India of 'Double Cola: the 
drink America loves!' Modernity in the 
ageless Karnataka countryside. It 
d^sn't seem such a good idea. 

Small towns flash past— Vajarahalli, 
Hossa Doddi. They are organised on 
similar lines: small streets crowded with 
farmers and loungers, the men in off- 
white clothes and the women bright and 
colourful as birds, rickety shops and 
restaurants; cows, bicycles, loudspeak- 
ers blaring Kannada and Tamil film 
music. Malgudi, the fictional South Indi- 
an town R.K. Narayan created with his 
very first novel SwBimandFriendSt over 
fifty years ago, could be any one of 
these, just tu^ed around the next bend 
in the road. Crocodiles of schoolchildren 
slow the car down, lliey could be going 
to Albert Mission School 
R.K. Narayan is interested to hear my 
theory. He tells of the English profes- 
sor, years ago, who meticiilously map- 
ped Malgudi— its streets, shops, houses 
and so on— and then was annoyed at not 
being able to obtain a precise fix on the 
town's location, because Narayan kept 
contradicting himself in different novels 
on the town's exact location. “He was 
quite upset/' ' Narayan says, “even 
though 1 told him that in fiction all 
distances are elastic. Like Einstein's 
theories.*' 

We are in an upstairs room in the 
house that Narayan has lived in for over 
thirty years in the Mysore suburb of 
Yadavagiri. This is the room he does 
most of his work in. The room is long 
and the furnishings are comfortable, tf 
Spsu^: a simple cot in one comer, a 
wri^ desk, a steel cupboard and some 
chairs arranged around a small' table. 
There are well thumbed bcxiks at the 
head of the bed— Palgrave's Golden 
Treasury, Shakespeare. There are 
more books in the steel cupboard: 
signed copies of all Graham Greene's 
books, The Age of Faith by Will Durant, 
65 Stories by Somerset Maugham, Mr. 
Afiiffiher by P.G. Wodehouse, copies of 
Narayan's own books. Tte writing 
desk is untidy with scattered papers and 
files and the wastepaper basket is nearly 




75 


filled to overflowing. Prom the bow- 
shaped £ar end of the room, a bank of 
windows opens out onto a la^e garden, 
bread fruit and pomegranate trees and 
beyond, the houses of the suburbs of 
Mysore studding a hiU. **When 1 first 
came here,” Narayan says, “there was 
almost no one around l^re was a 
neighbor next door, and another one 
half-a-mile away to the west. Otherwise 
nothing. You could see the ChamundB 
temple, some other buildings in the 
distance, cows, trees, but there was 
none of this clutter you see now.” 

The house is a largetwo-storeystruc- 
ture with high ceilings, tiled floors, 
comfortable cane ftimiture, built in the 
style that is meant to last Narayan 
lives here, with two of his brothers, 
most of the year round. He travels now 
and again to Delhi to attend sessions of 
Parliament (he was nominated a member 
of the Rajya Sabha in 1986). Every 
winter he goes to Madras for a couple of 
weeks to attend the Madras Music 
Festival, something he has teen doing 
for nearly four decades. He also goes to 
Coifi]batore,a few hours distant, to be 
with his daughter and grandchildren. 
Nowsidays he prefers to avoid longer 
journeys— trii^ abroad, for instance. 

The writer is a small man with quick 
blight eyes, hidden behind thick-lensed 
spectacles. At eighty-one his age shows 
only in the thinning hair, condortable 
girth and foiling hearing in one ear, but 
he is still foil of vitality, boundless 
curiosity and a twinkling good humour 
that is as apparent in real life as in his 
fiction. “I’m bored with these fellows 1 
meet who are constantly complaining of 
cholesterol or high blood pressure or 
what not. When they ask me how old 1 
am, 1 say 1 am as old as I look and quit 
the place,” he says. 

R.K. Narayan was bom in Madras on 
10 October 1906. His father was the 
headmaster of a government high school 
in Madras state and as was common 
those days, had a large fomily (Narayan 
is the third of six boys ^d two girls; one 
other boy and girl died youn^. The 
rater was sent to school in Madras 
where he lived with an uncle. His very 
first companions, werd a pracock (Myla) 
and a monkey (Ramu). In his autobiogra- 
phy, My Days, he describes the depre- 
dations tl^ wrought on the neighbour- 
hood until they both passed on— the 
peacock had its neck broken and the 
monkey simply disappeared. Other 
pets— a mymdi, a parrot, a dog of 
indeterminate breed, a cat— met equafly 
disastrous ends, after which his uncle 
vowed not to keep any more pets. 

Even in the early days, the novelist’s 
eye was in evidence in Narayan. In his 


autobiography, we are treated to child- 
hood indents as fresh and shining as 
the writer first observed them. One of 
his earliest memories is of a lamplighter 
he saw while on a walk with his uncle: “It 
was the evening hour again. 1 noticed a 
man with his liand and shoulder stuck 
through a bamboo ladder, going from 
post to post lighting the street lamps. 
The posts were few and for between— 
hexagonal glass shades on top of cast- 
iron fluted pillars. The lampli^ter was 
an old man wearing a khaki coat and blue 
turban, equipped with a ladder, a box of 
matches, rags and a can of oil. He moved 
from pillar to pillar unhurryingly. I was 
foscinated. I had never suspected that 
there could be so much to do to light up 
the dark nights. Clinging to my ujicle's 
fingers, I watched him, my head turned 


back— a difficult operation, since my 
uncle dragged me alon^ never slacken- 
ing his pace. The lamplighter went up his 
ladder, opened a little ventilator, took 
out the lamp, cleaned and wiped it with a 
rag, filled it with oil, lit up the wick, and 
closed the shutter, climbed down, thrust 
his shoulder through the ladder again, 
and passed on to the next one. I had 
numerous questions welling up within 
me, all sorts of thii^ 1 wished to know 
about the man— his name, where he 
came from, if he slept wearing the 
ladder. He filled the lamp with oil, lit 
up the wick, and closed the shutter, 
climbed down, thrust his shoulder 
through the ladder again, and passed on 
to the next one. I had numerous ques- 
tions welling up within me, all sorts of 
things I wished to know about the 



76 


iUNDAV3-f;il^1flM 



maiK-^his name, where he came from, if 
he slept wearing the ladder, what he ate 
and so forth; \mt before 1 could phrase 
them properly, I had to be moving along 
with my questions unanswered”. 

That lively curiosity, evident even as 
a child, has served the author well: 
without it it is unlikely that Mal^di 
would be as authentic and vibrant as it is. 
Even today, that curiosity is not one 
whit undimmed. “Where did you buy 
that pen?” Narayan asks me, as 1 write 
in my notebook. ”lVe tried all sorts of 
pens but none of them seem to work. 
Here look at this one. Someone gave it 
to the. It’s from China.” We talk about 
pens for a while. 

But this irrepressible curiosity got the 
novelist into a lot of trouble when he was 
young, especially at school where he 


seemed incapable of absort^ what he 
was being tautfit, nuich prefer^ the 
goings-on in the world about him. Un- 
surprisingly, he did not do well in the 
succession of schools he attended, first 
in Madras and then in Mysore where his 
father had become the headmaster of 
Maharaja's Collegiate School. The best 
part about this last institution, so far ns 
Narayan was concerned, was its library. 
He spent a lot of time there, es|:«cially 
after he failed to pass his pre-univesity 
exam and had a year to 1^ before he 
could attempt to ^t into Univerisity 
again. Though his father regarded 
education as second only to religion in 
importance, and though he was a strict 
disciplinarian, he dicbi’t much mind his 
son’s failing as he did not have, in 
Narayaii's words, “much faith in the 


examination system at all.” But Narayan 
had failed in English and that upset his 
father. Narayan blames the dullness of 
the bdoks he had to study and the 
unimaginativenes of the examiners who 
set the question paper for his failure; 
whatever the reason, the respite from 
studies proved valuable in terms of the 
time it gave him to read and explore the 
land about him. 

During this period of ‘forced idleness.’ 
Narayan read indiscriminately and wide- 
ly. Kitsch like the books of Marie Corelli 
and Victoria Cross and the classics — 
Keats, Tolstoi, Dickens, Hardy, Ta- 
gore— were all the same to him, 'Fhere 
were magazines, too, from all over the 
world— Boy’s Own Paper, Strand 
zine. Bookman, HarpePs, the Atlantic, 
American Mercury, the Spectator, the 



not one whit undimmed 



/?. K. N$tayaa, 81, has stopped 
givmg mterviem to the pnss.. The 
way he sees it, he has said and 
written enough. "If you wmt to 
know my views on mythmgmad aiiy 
books," he says. However, after 
aame persuasion, he agreed0 speak . 
iO SvsuAv. Excerpts 6xm an ^xcA^ 
aive intemeiK 

StiNnay: The bat novel pou pub- 
Uahedwaa ThetiUtoifveJIfmth 
1888. The most unuamdatpeet of 
the novel was lb lenath-iontp 
JiO-printed pages. Whg.b the ■ 

■ novel so short? 

K.K. Natayan; Why not?' rVewrit* 
ten in a postcript to the nov^ that 
>wiHle a poet or dramatist- rar^ 
exceeds a hundred pasesr a noveliat 
is ahways idud for mote; But' my 
ipew is if you have a story to tell, you 
can only teB k as it is. ui this novd 
nqr narrator. Talkative Mbn, had 
nothing more to say. So the novel 
came to an end. 

Are you working on « new 
novel? 

Sea, The main character is a 
simple feUow called Nagaraian adw 
lives four doors down from Talkative 
Man. Things hap^ to Nagaraian. 
He doesn’t participate very much, 
just stands at Ms door and observes 
what's going on and Miat's haf)pen- 
ingtol^. Cvecalledk The Woridrd 
• Nagan^ 

n'hen do goa think gon*U earn- 
plete It? 

1 don’t know. These days I write 
. much less than I used to— on^-a few 
hundred words a <My. 

'' Foh aag gou used to wHb 
more.... 

Yes, when I wrote The Odde, 1 
used to be.alife write dnmet 290(1 
words a day. But now I feel I’ve 
written enough. MVhat’s the point, in 
going on burd^g bookshelves with 
bodts? 

Do gou pbn b wrib angthing 
elae beaUba noveb? Poymm up* 
dating pour memefr, Hkf Days'? 

No, I think I’ve said everytiifeg 1 
wanted to say about myself in My 
DayeBut 1*8 keep writing essays, 
personal essays fer a wide more I 
suppose, lenioy the pmrsonal'esaayr ; 

. DogouHtMcagehaasmgMng' 
bdo wffft Inspimtionortho Ml' 
ofU? 

You’re certainly less mclined. to 
write. « ; i 

WhattimeofdagdogouwtmP_ 

I do not believe this theory' s^ 
waking up frehlt in the mom iid fe 



'Ri K. Ni^yim ikiilivsaboMiUs 


write. I write jn the afternoon and. ^ 
usukily revise what Fve ynitten in ; „ 
1^ «y at nigjit. • 

WlUt Is pour (ovtmrHo among 
: pour noveb? 

t suppose A tig^ kir iUipidb . 

Tea, jObfo ekrmnbl Hb Inott . . 
UHUsmdofgeur.noveld'-tkaofSg. : 
smwllhanmdmalmlbaaiitiyil 
eharaebr.inivdblpoadw^ibon - 
such a eabjegt? ■ '< ' . • 

Wiy does anyone? Bift 

I’ve written ab^ k. 1 gOt t^ kfeg 
from a news kern about a swaki and 
a tiger who used to visit the 

KumbhMda. 

WMb we’re atOl on pour wrO- 
tng, whg haven’t gou ever 
etnged Awn Malgadt In gmir 
noveb? You could write about 
Madras, fer insbnee, a dtp gou 
know well. 

Ob, no! Reafity intrudes too much. 
But I have Mts about Madras in 
Taflhitfve Mm. 

Hove gou ever written In 
TamU? 

No, never. I read and write Tand 
laboriously and besideB my interest 
Is in dasical Tand, you know the 
Tand of Kamban's Eamayana. 

Do gou think b TanM? 

1 don’t believe you can thud in any 
one .language. ; . 

Would gem agree with V. S. 
Halpaul Hud pour noveb are 
about ’small men, amuli 
■ eehemde. Mg folk, limited 
meaaa’? 

1 HftndMidi so. ' : 

You don’t haoe veep monp 
Mrsng-wmnenehmiwbrtlhpouy 
noveb, wMI thepooebb exe^. 
tbn of Savitri in tlie Qwk 
Boom. Whp? 

1 find women uidkerestittg. 
inere do pan pet be Ueap 
far pour novda Ibm? . 

Everywhere. Inda ia ao rldt in 
rooteridfeat you juit have to look 
oik of the wMow ]to get a chetecter. : 
Ihat’a. ntoMbly wby writeta tere 
- have nfebieina, Thete’e. po.' itfiife 
I tnatetm'fheydoMtkiaywyfedtOtlb 
'abwft'k.- ■ 

oinatsb pegMoan.'ialm pop 

■■■ feg.iii4{fpiP#ra''*«»' jnfehi 

are not uakig the; 
enough. 


' Vou ev bmt fbgro b''eh!H0'‘ 
neobtMblmMo.bftndelnprispi . 
fob far poiw IbtImi Snbd ht^ 

. poHO once pmYpe bniad « ejkoK. 
■(Brfeif 

'.OM finding tfae'^dMneter .ia the 
inoet djfficuk parti (hioe you have 
^..cerkpd character, you have the, 
story at the novel It ahnoet 
.ife^ ' . 

Who are Hb peipb whekuvp., 
InHueneed pour terUfiig? 

1 ddoY thfek about these tMaga. ' 

Arp anp et pour noveb antu 
bbprephksd? 

The BhgGsh Teacher ia the most 
autobiogrimiueal. 


A let of the ehanebra b pear 
noveb oiredeepbreliMeua. Abe, 
pen dnuoubt an reOgbuaboeka 
In pour phtbeaphteal epeeubh 
tbne. Are pen reUpbua poureetf? 

I’ve ret^ some of the Indian 
epics. Tbey.are great stories. 

Whot b poor dew on medenw 


A siai Woei aakpodl Osyas s amNiiads aarto 



PERSONALITY 


:laiR«mutie4'TbepHyi8tiiAl«alr . 
temptoa/fMw to ^etnank* \-. 

.iMwied Dial it iaids td tkege ttiiiM> 

. JNoi jim . 

•' •• *JP«iFn»‘ ■ 

‘.•filieiilw Vmteii^;. “■' '.V, 

■.i'riniki, At ' . 

'.x': 

Mi^,idiiU^.F<Mavat-fbr.v 
' 1. 4' iiiiip«M iitQ .« kecb ' 

r I antaiidi^ A 

iiro 0 wnine»«e ii . 

^tniiiit pi9kt'ibw0tf 
1 used to traveUng; No 
btlj^ and not even to America, mp 
finraorite country. 

Tea, gou Move lerttten a tot 
iAfittt Amerietu WouUgoaoetth 
down Uure if gou hod Uu opoor- 
ttudig? 

Twenty years ago, definitely. Ex- 

t Ataaaaa 


t gou Uke American wrtten? 
Some of them. 




■;r»W!»k"W 

>;|bA? ■,-■■>-■•;'•:» V;' ,..- ... 

' Qrah^ Graeiiei l’Vd,«iad A;ihis 
•hdpica. )ie> abo hett'^a doAldii^ 

> 'far dvier hdf-a-centiu:]^,' = ; . 

iTimafiUla WS mH ’■ mmo? . 

fhpdii I Mtuhliticil. fimfAddte^. 
Ha .aUd writA’-abdut ordbary'' ' 
Ide. JHliimf.io a i^Bod wter^Abb , 
.theflSrjjjwBt-fiikdt^' ^ “ '■■ 


:vttry. fsod.' Ba'hw' A. ‘ - 

abaatttoliwiii^ AAe'PilMdpllA'^' 
fwge. . Tfil- ;FifeiidvSdtS>^;-'«f'.;-- 
, attiiA..b vent two, ^.biic wlAhdr ib 
de^ to- Aange wodd. . 

. ' raodtMg lAou. •.'TF-' - 

•Hal?- .Anwif on gtnfi'aleiti^'--. 

I ttimk it'« vety gMidf 
FtUf tieame a Rltfn SMa 
MPiHJim, Whiti^m^lnk9f 
ikeppliihi €iRi0i9 GiuMi Mi 
Mm navMmmenif 
As I said, I'm not invested in 
political matters. 

Dm jfoit have ant mpMoom an 
iheTMmUprobleminSHLankaT 
No. Everybody seems to be 
shooting everybody else.' 



Times Literary Supplement, the Guar- 
dian (in a thin yeOow cover)— to be had 
in the school library and Narayan de- 
voured as much as he could of their 
contents. It was about this time that he 
began writing as well. An elegiac poem 
called Friendship and an abstract com- 
position, i^ttemed on Marie Corelli, 
called Divine A#us/c--composed on the 
banks of the Kukanahalli Tank, a large 
water reservoir— were his first efforts. 
These were applauded by his younger 
brother and friends, bribed with coffee, 
but remorselessly rejected by a succes- 
sion of editors at various English maga- 
zines. Writes Narayan about an editor's 
response to one of his early efforts "It 
enra^ me— the cold, callous rejection 
slip, impersonal and n^ocking. Must be a 
mistake somewhere. Perhaps the edi- 
tor was away and sotne mean factotum 
at the office... Or why not send it back 
or why not tell the editor what a 
dunderhead he must be not to be 
responsive to Divine Music'' 

B ut Narayan's ire did nothing to h^ 
and his manuscripts kept coming 
bade to him. In 1926, he attempted the 
University entrance examination again 
and this time he passed. He was admit- 
ted to Mahanya's College, Mysore, 
where he read history. C^ge proved 
as much a trial as school for the outside 
world fiisdnated him more than Hbzen's 
European History or Gilchrist's ^litical 
theo^s. Nonetheless, he graduated at 
the age of 24 and then a bigger problem 
presented itself: what was he to do to 
earn a living?} Narayan flirted with the 
idea of matog a career for himself in 
areas as diverse as banking, academics 
and the railways. Nobody in Jiese pro- 
fessions, however, were much impress- 
ed by him, so in between interviews, he 
wrote. 

A play, Prince Yazid about an "inde- 
pendent minded' Mughal prince’Vas 
completed and then he tackled his first 
novel "On a certain day in September," 
Narayan writes in My Days, "selected 
by my grandmother for its auspicious- 
ness, I 'bought an exercise book and 
wrote the first line of a novel; as I sat in 
a room nibbling my pen and wondering 
what to write, M^gudi, with its little 
railway station, swam into view, all 
ready-made, with a character odled 
Swaminathan running down the plat- 
lorm peering into the faces of passen- 
gers, and grimacing at a beard^ free; 
this seemed to take roe on the rii^t 
track of writing, as day by day, pages 
grew out of it linked to each other. (In 
the final draft the only diange was that 
Malgudi Station came at the end of the 
story.) "This was a satisfactory begin- 

"79 


ning for me, and 1 rc^larly wrote a few 
pages each day.*' Meanwhile, Narayan's 
father managed to secure a place for his 
son as a teacher at a government school 
in Chennapatna, a small town in Mysore. 
Narayan Listed exactly a day at the job, 
before returning home convinced that 
teaching was not tor him. A few days 
later he was persuaded to try again. 
Again, he last^ only a day; that spelt 
the end of a teaching career. 

'ITte novel, however, was proceeding 
apace. Narayan soon developed a 
routine which he serenely followed day 
after day as his family secretly worried 
and wondered. In his autobio^aphy he 
writes: "Soon after my morning coffee 
and hath 1 took my umbrella and started 
out for a walk. I needed the umbrella to 
protect my head from the sun. Some- 
times I carried a pen and pad and sat 
down under the shade of a tree and 
wrote. Some days 1 took out a cycle and 
rode ten miles along the Karapur Forest 
Road, sat on a wayside culvert and 
wrote or brooded over life and litera- 
ture, watching some peasant ploughing 
his field, with a canal flowing glitteringly 
in the sun. My needs were nil, 1 did not 
have plans, there was a delight in being 
just ^ve and free from employment. 
That was a great luxury, i returned 
home at noon in time for lunch, read 
something inconsequential for an hour or 
two. I took care not to read too much or 
anything that might influence my writing 
at the moment... At three o'clock after a 
cup of coffee 1 wrote. Day by-day Swanu 
was develop!^. '* According to the wri- 
ter, this period of his life was utterly 
enjoyable. He took a great delight in 
watching the novel develop, almost of its 
own accord. The work in progress 
would be periodically read out aloud to a 
few loyal admirers, notably his younger 
brother Seenu and a neighbour called 
Puma. Unfortunately, if there were 
some who appreciated his writing there 
were several detractors as well One of 
them, his mother's younger brother, 
was especiaUy scathing. This uncle 
would take examples of Naryan's writing 
(proferred to him at the author's 
mother's urging and read out: “It was 
Monday morning. Oh, Oh, Monday! 
Why not Tuesday or Friday?" He woiiM 
look through other pages and exclaim: 
"What the hell is this? You write that he 
got up, picked up tooth powder, rinsed 
his teeth, poured water ove las head- • 
just a catalogue! H'la I could also write 
a novel if all that is expected of me is to^ 
say that 1 got up, picked up a towp|,« 
rubbed the soap, dried myself, shook off 
the water, combed...! could also ,be- ! 
come a novelist if this was all that was 
expected, but 1 have no time to write a 
detailed catalogue. And what's this Mal- 

ai) 



gudi? Where is it? Why do you write 
about some vague place not found any- 
where, while ^ere are millions of real 
places to write about?" However, this 
uncle despite his reservations, attemp- 
ted to promote his nephew's career, by 
introducing Narayan to a fiiend of his in 
Madras who was planning to publish a 
matrimonial gazette — "a magazine sole- 
ly devoted to matrimonial themes.' The 
editor told the young Narayan that 
marriage was the most important thing 
in life and suggested he write several 
pieces on the subject. Obligingly 
Narayan concocted several imaginative 
stories and anecdotes on marriage but 
was chafed when he found the editor 
had no intentions of paying him for his 
submissions and was only prepared to 
offer him a job as an un|^ trainee. 
Somewhat ^sillusioned Narayan re- 
turned to Mysore. Around that time he 
saw his name in print for the first time 
when he managed to review a book for a 
magazine; the same magazine also pub- 
lished a short story, l^e payment for 
these two pieces was around nine 
rupees and twelve annas, the author's 
total income in the first year of his 
writing career (these days Naray^ 
averages advances of $ 10,000 fi:om his 
American publisher for every new novel 
he proposes to 


about the horoscopes not matching and 
more important, Narayan's future pros- 
pects, Narayan was married to Rqjam a 
few months later. 'Fhe young bride was 
inducted into the joint family in Mysore; 
with a wife to support, and with the 
expenses of this joint family increasin^y 
devolving on him and his elder brother, 
with his father's retirement, it became 
apparent to Narayan that he could no 
longer depend on the vagaries of fi:ee- 
lance writing to provide a sufficient 
wage. So he became the Mysore dty 
reporter for a Madras newspaper called 
The Justice, The newspaper, an anti- 
Brah^ daily, curiously did not mind 
having a Brahmin correspondent in My- 
sore. 

Narayan’s job was to haunt the law 
courts, pofice stations and municipal 
buildings and try to make at least ten 
column inches of news by lunch-time. 
He would turn home at one, wolf down 
his lundi and bang out the day's report 
on an old Remington portable. The copy 
was then sealed in an envelope and 
rushed to. the post office by the 2:20 pm 
clearance (either by Narayan on foot or, 
if his younger brother Laxman, the 
famous Magsaysay-award-winning- 
cartoonist was avaibble, by bicycle). 
This job brought him around thir^ 
rupees a month. 


Tliough his did not find many ^ ^ Meanwhile, his first novel Swarm and 
takers, the author kept at it He also liii J^Mods was shuttling fim pabB^ 

in kn« mth a variety of women public in England, where it had been 

" ' - • gent Every one oi them iQCcted .it 

Then one day Narayan nomeA a cable 
from hb ne^jibour Puma (one of his tW 
band of admirers), who was now at 
Oxford, and udw M taken upon himseif 
the responsiUlity of tryiqg to place the 
novel with a publisher, "Novd taken. 


them at a distapoe, unti, as be writes, 
"^dter severu^ false starts, the ted thing 
Mcuiyed.’' He saw a girl drawing water 
franca strert tap in Coimbatore and 
in love with her. Her 
friend of die frndy and 
frere questions raised 






PKKSpNALITY 


Graham Greene respmsible." 

The association and fnendship of 
Narayan and Greene, the famous British 
author, which has lasted over fifty years, 
be^ then. Graham Greene writes 
ab^' those e^ days: '*The town of 
Ma|^ came into my life in the early 
thirties. 1 knew nothing then of the 
auto... One day an Indian friend of 
mine called Puma brought me a rather 
travelled and weary ty^script— a novel 
written by a friend of his-— and 1 let it lie 
on my desk for weeks unread until one 
rainy day... 1 did not know that it had 
been rejected by half-a-dozen publishers 
and that Puma had been told by the 
auto not to return it to Mysore but to 
weight it with a stone and drop it into the 
Thames. Anyway Narayan and 1 had 
be^ brought together. 1 was able to .find 
a publisher for Swami and Malgudi was 
bom, the Mempi Forest and Nallappa's 
Grove, the Albert Mission School, Mar- 
ket Road, the River Sarayu all that 
region of the imagmtion which seems to 
me now more familiar than Battersea or 
the Euston Road.” Swami and Friends 
was published in 1935 by Hamish Hamil- 
ton. Its successor The Bachelor of Arts 
was published two years later by 
Nelson. 

S everal , momentous events in the 
writer’s life look place at about this 
time. Narayan’s father died and the 
family was hard pressed to find the 
money to keep the household going. A 
daughter had also been added to the 
family. Narayan (who had somewhat 
impetuously thrown up his newspaper 
job on the publication of Swami) was now 
writing for a variety of magazines, both 
in ln& and abroad, but his ability to 
meet expenses was still uncertain. 

While the daily battle to earn enoufdi 
money went on a third novel. The Dark 
Room, was published in England. As if 
he had some premonition of the dark 
days ahead, Narayan departed, in this 
novel from the light humorous style of 
his fot two bocik^The Dark Room*s 
hcnrofoe Savitri, the kmg-puffering wife 
of Ramanl who prefers to spend more 


time with his glamorous office assistant 
Shanta Bai, was easily the nK)st tragic 
character the author had hitherto cre- 
ated. The Room received the usual 

bag of good reviews, but the royalty 
income from the three books was still 
fitful. Narayan decided to forego his 
convictions and ’'settle down to hack- 
work.’’ He wrote a travelogue for the 
Mysore (as it was then) Government 
and also began to write a column for the 
Hindu every week for a fee of thirty 
rupees per piece. (Narayan, who is 
known to be extremely to his 
publishers, still ^tes the column). 

Then tragedy struck. Narayan’s wife 
caught typhoid and died in the first week 
of June 1939. The author was utterly 
distraught. It seemed that everything 
that had sustained him and his writing 
had gone forever. Narayan writes in his 
autobiography, ”I felt clearly within my 
mind that 1 would never write a word 
again in my life. 1 had lost my anchorage. 
There was no meaning in existence. 
Dismal emptiness stretched before me. 
'fhere were a hundred mementoes and 
reminders each day that were deeply 
tormenting." 

But there was his daughter to take 
care of and. slowly Narayan tried to pick 
up the threads of his life. Then, a ch^ce 
encounter with a psychic medium, en- 
abled him, over several seances, to 
make contact with his wife. Narayan 
writes: "I began to ‘=‘.ense Rajam's pre- 
sence at that taUf. What she is sup- 
posed to have said or Kao's (the 
psychic’s) pencil wrote was secondary, 
llie actual presence felt at this sitting in 
the stillness or dimness of that little 
room had a profound effect on me. When 
I went home that evening, 1 felt lighter 
at heart... After some time even... 
dependence on the medium became 
unnecessary. 1 felt able to manage for 
myself independently, since psychic ex- 
perience seemed to have become a part 
of my normal life and thought. In a few 
months I became an adept.. Following 
the directions given, I practised psychic 
contacts regularly for some years, 
almost every ni^t .. And then gradually 
the interest diminished when I began to 
feel satisfied that 1 had attained an 
understanding of life and death." 



ays Narayan, ''Indian 
English is often mentioned 
with some amount of 
contempt and patronage, 
but it is a legitimate 
development” 


, Out of this experience came The 
Entfish Teacher easily one of the most 
tragic novels in contemporary En^^ish 
fiction. It is also the most autobiog- 
raphical of Narayan’s books. Writes he, 
"The En^ish teacher of the novel, 
Krishna, is a fictional chaiacter in the 
fictional city of Malgudi; but he goes 
through the same experience I had gone 
throu^.’’ The English Teacher is mys- 
tical and deals with the essential ques- 
tions of life and death in a way Narayan 
had never attempted before and never 
has since. 

At the time he began writing The 
English Teacher, World War II had just 
broken out. As a result of the war, even 
the small royalty income Narayan got 
dwindled to almost nothing as publishers 
in England cut down their lists and 
printings due to paper and printing ink 
shortages. Narayan needed to do some- 
thing quickly— both to raise his income 
as weU as his creativity which was 
'stagnating* as a result of the harrowing 
time he’d been through. A few friends 
and he weired sever^ options and then 
a trifle naively decided that the best 
answer to their problems would be the 
launching of a magazine devoted to 
literature, philosophy and culture. The 
magazine, a quaiteriy, started with a 
capital of 1000 rupees, was called Indian 
Thought, and appeared somewhat irre- 
gularly for a couple of years. But its 
publisher was plagued with problems 
familiar to magazine editors the world 
over— a dearth of good editorial mate- 
rial, an indifferent printer {Indian 
Thou^fs printer, Mr. Sampath was 
soon to be immortalised in an epony- 
mous novel) and shortages of paper and 
ready funds. In 1943 Indian Tlmsfit, 
the magazine, closed down (but Narayan 
retain^ the name and for several de- 
cades now has published his own novels 
under the Indian Thought Publications 
imprint in India. The imprint, as Graham 
Greene quipped, is unique, in that it is 
probably the only publishing house in the 
world that pubfishes the work of only 
one person-the proprietor). 

In 1944, The English Teacher was 
published. It was the first Narayan novel 
in nearly eight years. After that novels 
flowed more frequently from the novel- 
ist's pen, but there was a marked change 
fiiom the funny, happy novels the novel- 
ist had be^ his career with. Graham 
Greene writes of this shift: "Something 
had permanently changed in Narayan 
...Satoss and humour in the later 
books go hand in hand like twins, 
inseparable, as they do in the stories of 
Chekhov.... The writer's personal 
tragedy has been our gain." This admix- 
ture of humour and pain characterises all 




81 


arayanfell in lov& with a variety 
of women most of them at a 
distance 




Fainted by Michelai^a SiaipfocusbyBdtdc. 


vnien Mlchelangeio painted the pictute,he didn’t know about 
advanced features or (»uiw of image as we know it todajrthrou^ 
televisioa Ihanksto Belted you a piece of ait even Mlchefengelo 

wixildeiivy. 

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BEGINNING 3 JANUARY 1988 BY AMRITLAL 



ARIES (21 Marcli-20 April) 

This is a particutarly good 
week for. lawyers and politi 
Gians. Financially, most of 
you will gain through inheri- 
tance. Businessmen will receive opportuni- 
ties to expand their ventures. Professionals 
will be rewarded for their sincerity. The 
period is favourable for love and matrimonial 
negotiations.Studentsmay go abroad. You 
are advised to exercise tact in both the 
written and spoken word. 

Oood dates: 3, 6 and 9 
Laclqr nambert: 5, 7 and 8 
South 



UEO (21 July -20 August) 

This is a lucky week for 
professionals. Wedding 
belts may ring out for those 
in love. Laurels are in stote 
for those associated with the fine arts. 
Sportsmen may achieve what they have 
been striving for. You /nay be in for a 
windfall. Businessmen should be wary of 
entering into new ventures. Do not hesitate 
to use your contacts. Avoid controversies 
of any nature. 

Good dates:?. 6 and 9 
Lucky numbers: 1. 3 and 5 
Favourable direction: South-east 



SAGIHARIUS (21 November- 
20 December) Your financial 
prospects are good. You 
must avoid ail kinds of spe- 
culations especially those 
related to business .Lawsuits may cause you 
some anxiety and you will have to seek the 
advice of elders. A change of job or 
residence is !ikely. There is a possibility of 
a new friendship especially with someone 
of the opposite sex. Your enemies will try 
to harm you. 

Good dates: 4. 7 and 8 
Lucky numbers: 4. 5 and 7 
East 


TAURUS (21 Aprll-20 May) 

This is a lucky week for 
you. By being courageous 
and patient, you will be able 
to cope with emotional 
problems. Even though serious com- 
petition is forecast, oo not lose heart 
because you will emerge successful. This 
is a good time for romance. Financially, this 
is a good week for businessmen. The 
domestic front will remain calm. For those 
in service, a promotion is likely. 

Good dates: 4. 5 and 6 
Lucky numbers: 3. 5 and 6 
Favourable direction: West 


VIRGO (21 Auou8t-20 
September) A pleasure trip 
offing. Do not let 
problems perturb you, be- 
cause the stars will soon 
turn in your favour. If you do not check your 
extravagance, you will soon run into finan- 
cial problems. For those in the services, a 
prorhotion is likely. This is a good week for 
students, lawyers and politicians. Do not 
neglect your health. Postpohd matrimonial 
plans. 

Good dates: 4. 6 and 8 
Lucky nombers: 2. 4 and 6 
Favourable direction: North-east 


CAPRICORN (21 December- 
20 January) There are 
chances of financial gams 
from unexpected sources. 
A journey at the end of the 
week is likely The unemployed might find 
jobs. For those in the services, a promotion 
is likely. This is not a good week to settle 
property disputes. Lovers can go ahead 
with matrimonial plans. This is the time to 
save for the future. Your health will bother 
you. 

Good dates: 5. 6 and 8 
Lucky number!: 1, 2 and 6 
Favourable direction: South-east 





GEMINI (21 May-20 Juno) 

The stars are particularly 
favourable for employees. 
All of you must .take deci- 
sions in matters regarding 
your career. Problems at home that have 
been bothering you for some time will be 
solved this week. The time is good for 
sportsmen. Some of you may win a lottery. 
Women might receive expensive gifts. 
Avoid legal wrangles. Lovers can go ahead 
with matrimonial plans. 

Good dataa: 5, 6 and 7 
Lucky mimburc: 4, 6 and 8 
Favourable dliocUon: North 


LIBRA (21 Saplambcr-20 
October) This is a good 
period for politicians. Be 
careful while dealing with 
friends and relatives. A 
close friend may. be «h« cause of your 
downfall. Businessrnen arj advised to re- 
frain from making new investments.This is 
not a good time for settling legal disputes. 
Lovers will find that their parents are 
extremely compromising. Even though you 
Will make some financial gains, do not be 
extravagant. 

Good daloc: 3, 5 and 7 
Lucky numbufi: 4, 8 and 9 
Favouiabte dlractlun: South 


H AQUARIUS (21 Jamiary-20 
Fabmaiy) The stars are in 
your favour this week. Even 
though your financial pros- 
pects are bright do not 
squander money. Businessmen will get an 
opportunity to diversify their trade. Profes- 
sionals will be rewarded with a promotion. 
Some of you may even inherit property. 
This is a good phase for lovers. The 
domestic front will remain peaceful. Those 
connected with the arts are likely to 
achieve recognition. 

Good datac: 6 . 8 and 9 
Lucky numbtrs: 5, 7 and 8 
FavDurabla dlrtcHoii! North 




CANCER (21 Juna-20 July) 

Those who are unem- 
ployed might find a job. 
Professionals will be re- 
warded with opportunities 
to better themselves. Your financial pros- 
pects are good but businessmen might 
have a few problems this week. You will 
have to shoulder additional responsibilities 
at home. Lovers should try and avoid 
unnecessary arguments. 

Quad dales: 6. 7 and 8 
Lucky numbers: 3, 4 and 5 
Favuurabla direction: East 



8CQRJ»iO (21 Octobar-20 

Novambar) Professionals 
and businessmen will make 
steady progress. Students 
are advised to make use of 
the opportunities that come then way. You 
ma y inherit property. Problem s at home 
wiTt now be solved. Friends and relatives 
will occupy much of your time. Lovers can 
go ahead with plans of matflihony. Your 
health will improve. 

Good dates: 5, 7 and 9 
Lucky uumburs: 2. 3 and 4 

-MIrhriK 

Futfediilli^lli^^ 1*^: 


PISCES (21 Fubrttary-20 
March) The period is now 
favourable for matrimonial 
negotiations. By curbing 
your extravangance. you 
will be able to get over this bleak period. At 
home your children may be demanding, 
but deal with them diplomatically. 
Businessmen are advised not to invest in 
risky ventures. Professionals must be care- 
ful while dealing with their superiors. 
Good dates: 3. 7 and 8 
Lttckv numbert: 3. 7 and 8 
Faveurabla direction: Weal 



Star Partnen: Callca^8•8ltlal1lla 

Quarrels and arguments are the key words in this relationship. SInde the Saglttariusjman is an extrovert, he win expect his 
Cancerean woman to lead a hectic social li f e with him. If she la not willing to do so. he will react by flirting with crther 
women. If she wants to keep him interested in her. she must give up her ideas of staying at home. 


JMMTV IMS 





BOOK EXTRACT 


m 


Jesua 
live in I 

India?' 


How much do we know about the life and death of 
Jesus Christ? Did he come to India and study 
Buddhism? Did he really live— and die— in Kashmir? 
German theologian Holger Kersten provides an 
interesting insight in this extract 



Tlw *B«lhliio-ptae« Off MoMtm , with • 

Tho OQ-eolM *8lonoor Moom* or Ko-Ko-Bol 


•lono lion that Is c.5000yoM old 



I n the autumn of 1887, the Russian 
historian and itinerant scholar, 
Nicolai Notovitch (bom 1858) 
reached Kashmir in northern India 
on one of his numerous journeys 
to the Orient. He planned to lead an 
expedition from Srinagar, the capital of 
Kashmir, through the Himalayas to 
Ladakh. He had enough funds at his 
disposal to equip himself adequately, .and 
to hire an interpreter and ten bearers in 
addition to his servant. After an adven- 
turous trek, having successfully braved 
many trials and difficulties, the caravan 
finally reached the Zogi-la pass, 3500 
metres in altitude, on the natural border 
between the “happy valley" of Kashmir 
and the arid “moon landscape" of 
Ladakh. 

Even today, the Zqji-la is the only 
route of access from Kashmir to that 
strange and remote country. Notovitch 
wrote in his diary: “What a bleak con- 
trast I experienced, coming from the 
smiling nature and the beautiM people of 
Kashmir into the forbidding, barren 
mountains of Ladakh and to its beard- 
less, rugged inhabitants!" llie plain 
Ladakhis soon proved to be a friendly lot 
and “extremely sincere"; thus Notovitch 
finally arrived in a Buddhist monastery, 
where he was granted a much wanner 
reception than e.g. a Muslim might have 
expected. He asked a lama why he 
should be favoured over believers of the 
Islamic faith, and received this reply: ! 

*The Moslems have nothing in com- 
mon with our religion; indeed, not long 
ago they forcibly converted a number of 
Buddhists to Islam after a victorious 
campaign. It has caused us the greatest 
diffi^ty to lead these Moslems who 
have diverged from the path of Buddh- 
ism back to the right path to the true 
God. The Europeans are altogether 
different from the Moslems. 'Fhey not 
only acknowledge the essential principle 
of monotheism; they also honour Bud- 
dha and are thus very near to the lamas 
of Tibet. The only difference between 
the Christians and ourselves is that, 
having accepted Buddha's exalted 
teachings, the Christians parted from 
him com^etely and adopt^ their own 
Dalai L^. Our Dalai Laiiu alone 
retained the divine gift, the n^jesty of 
Buddha, his transcendent vision, and the 
power to serve as an intermediary 
between Earth and Heaven." 

“Who is this Christian Dalai Lama you 
are talking about?" Notovitch asked in 
reply. “We have a 'Son of God', to whom 
we direct our most impassioned 
prayers, in whom we seek refiige, and 
who niiglit plea to our one and only Gqd 
on our behalf." 

“We do not mean him, Sahib! We, 




too, honour the one you worship as the 
. Son'ofGod. But we do not see an actual 
son in him, but the foremost being 
among the chosen. In fact Buddha, as a 
purely spiritual being, was incarnated in 
the My person of Issa, who spread our 
^ted and true religm throughout the 
world without resorting to 6re or the 
sWoid. 1 should like to speak about your 
earthly Dalai Lama, whom you have 
given the title, ‘Father of the Universal 
Church*. That was a great sin; and may 
those sheep who have taken the false 
path be forgiven!" Thus replied the 
lama, while oncd again starting to turn 
his prayer wheel. 

tfoving recognised the lama's allusion 
to the Pope, Notovitch probed further. 
"You tell me that a son of Buddha, Issa, 
who was chosen above all, spread your 
faith throughout the world. Who was 
he?** 

The lama's eyes widened greatly at 
this question, and he looked at his visitor 
in astonishment, uttering a few words 
that puzzled Notovitch. Barely compre- 
hensible, he murmured, "Issa is a great 
prophet, one of the first to come after 
the exalted Buddhas; he is far greater 
than any one of the Dalai Lamas, for he 
forms part of the spiritual essence of our 
Lord. He instructed you, and led trans- 
gressing souls back to the heart of God; 
he made you worthy of the graces of the 
Creator, and made it possible for every 
being to recognise good and evil. His 
name and his deeds are registered in our 
holy books." 

At this point, Notovitch had become 
quite bafOed by the lama’s words, for the 
prophet Issa, his teaching, his martyr- 
dom, and the reference to a Christian 
Dalai Lama were increasingly reminis- 
cent of Jesus Christ. 

He bade his interpreter not to omit a 
single word that the lama had uttered. 
"Where are these scriptures and who 
wrote them?" he finally asked the monk. 

'The most important scriptures, 
drafted at various times in India and* 
Neixd, depending on the account of 
events, are to be found in their 
thouamids in Lhasa. There are copies in 
a few large monasteries. They were 
made dui^ various epochs by the 
Ittnas during their stays at Lhasa, and 
doimted to the monast^ as a niemento 
of the time they spent with our supreme 
master, the Dalai Lama." 

Notovitch resolved to try to examine 
these scr^res in the further course of 
his trav^. He thus arrived at Leh, the 
capital of Ladakh, and finally at Hernia, 
"one of the most distingui^ monas- 
teries in the country.** Here he witnes- 
sed ope of the traditionai religto 
ala tM take place several times each 



PiMtor cast Oil tbs ibolprliir itllsr of tht prophtl Yuz Ataf/Jetut 




mu 




lOiiiD wi MOMVi Wm mv mMIMr 


year, and as the head lama's guest of I 
honour, he had the opportunity of gain- 
ing a wealth of knowledge about the 
customs and habits of the lamaist 
monks. Finally the traveller succeeded 
in diverting the conversation to his chief 
interest, and he learned that in the 
monastery there were indeed scriptures 
about the mysterious prophet Issa, con- 
taining stories that had astounding simi- 
larities to the stories of Jesus of 
Nazareth. 

The following is a summary of this 
text, based on the French translation. 

A fter a short introduction, the early 
history of the people of Israel and 
the life of Moses is briefly related. An 
account follows of how the eternal Spirit 
resolved to take on a human form "so 
that he might show by his example how 
one can attain moral purity, and free the- 
soul from its coarse shell, in order to 
attain the perfection needed toenter into 
the kingdom of. heaven, which is un- 
changing and Piled by eternal happi- 
ness." 

A divine infent is bom in far-away 
Israel, and is given the name Issa. At 
some time during the first fourteen 
vears of his life, the lad arrives in the 






region of the Sindh (the Indus) in the 
company of merchants, “And he settled 
among the Aryans, in the land loved by 
(vod, with the intention of perfecting 
himself and of learning from the laws of 
the great Buddha." 'I'he young Issa 
travels through the land of five rivers 
(the Punjab), stays briefly with the 
"deluded Jains", and then proceeds to 
Jagannath "where the white priests of 
Brahma honour liim with a joyous recep- 
tion". There Issa/jesus learns to read 
and interpret the Veda, and finally he 
instructs the lower castes of the Sutos. 
He thus incurs the displeasure of the 
Brahmans, who feel their position and 
power threatened. After spending six 
years in Jagannath (Puri), Rajagriha 
(Rajgir) Benares (Varanasi) and other 
holy cities, he is compelled to flee the 
fury of the Brahmans, who had become 
enraged by his teaching that the differ- 
ences in human value among people of 
different castes was not divinely 
ordained. 

Issa goes up into the Himalayas to 
Nepal, where he remains for six years 
atid dedicates himself to the study of 
Buddhist scriptures. The teachings that 
he spreads there are simple and clear, 
but above all just towards the oppressed 
and the weak, to whom he reveals the 
falsity and perfidy of tlie priest caste. He 
finally moves on towards the West, and 
passing through various countries in the 
role of an itinerant preacher, ever pre- 
ceded by his glorious reputation. He also 
quarrels with the priests of Persia, who 
expel him one evening in the hope that 
he would soon become the prey of wild 
animals. But Providence allows the holy 
Issa to reach Palestine safely, where the 
wise men inquire of him: "Who are you, 
and what is the country of your origin? 
We have as yet not heard of you and 
know not even your name," 

"I am an Israelite", Issa replies, "and 
on the day of my birth I saw the walls of 
Jerusalem and heard the sobs of my 
enslaved bi others and the wails of my 
sisters condemned to live among the 
heathens. And my soul grieved sorely 
when I heard that my brothers had 
forgotten the true God. As a child. 1 left 
my parent.s' home to live among other 
peoples. But after hearing of the great 
sorrows that my brothers were suffer- 
ing, I returned to the land where my 
parents lived in order to bring my 
brothers back to the faith of our ances- 
tors, a faith which enjoins us to be 
patient on Earth so that we might 
achieve the consummate and highest 
happiness in the beyond." 

I f Jesus did indeed |p’e in Kashmir for a 
long period of time, one should be able 
to find some traces of this fact in ancient 

90 


Indian literature. Because one presumes 
that the Messiah did not die until he was 
more than eighty years old in Srinagar, it 
seems natural to suppose that there is 
evidence of how he spent the last 30 to 
40 years. But the Indian authors of 
antiquity resisted all alienation of their 
culture through foreign influence. For 
instance, not even Alexander the 
Great’s conquest of India is mentioned in 
any writings, however significant the 
event may have been. Indologists are in 
agreement that there was no systematic 
history in India before it was invaded by 
Islam. 

The ancient narratives of the Hindus 
are the Puranas (= old), and were 
continuously supplemented by further | 
religious texts from the fifth century 
B.C'. or before up until the 17th cen- 
tury.’ The entire anthology currently 
comprises 18 volumes, and the ninth 
volume, called Bhavishyat Maha- I 
Purana, contains an account from the • 
fifth century of how Jesus came to India. 

(NMdqr 

'Sliiivalian,lhieiiM 

oflheSalqfaSiiiwaiiiM 

noiy Inin wnD fw \ 

«llwrn|iM:lMidiill 
SMefGod,bgmofiyii||i, 
^niniinr In uii niNMMnivinb/ 
lllinillilqf m Mven 
Oftulll’ 


The description is so detailed that no 
doubt can exist as to the identity of the 
man in question. The Purana relates that 
Israelites settled in India, and in verses 
17-32, describes J^us* appearance ^ 
the scene: 

"Shalivahan, who was a grandson of 
Bikrama Jit, took over the govern- 
ment. He vanquished the attacking 
hordes of Chinese, Parthians, 
Scythians and Bactrians. He drew a 
border between the Aryans and the 
Mleacha (= non-Hindus), and 
ordered the latter to withdraw to the 
other side of India. One day, Shaliva- 
han, tlie chief of the Sakyas, went 
into the Himalayas, Thbre, in the 
Land of the Hun (» Ladakh, a part of 
the Kushan empire), the powerful 
king saw a man sitting on a mountain, 
who seem«J to promise auspicious- 
besSf His skin was friir and he wore 
garments. The king asked the 
holy.»Tu|uiilho h'' ' 


replied: 1 am called a son of God, 
bom of a virgin, minister of the 
non-believers, relentlessly in search 
of the truth.’ The king then asked 
him; ‘What is your religion? The 
other replied, *0 great king, 1 come 
from a foreign country, where there 
is no longer truth and where evil 
knows no bounds. In the land of the 
non-believers. 1 appeared as the 
Messiah. But the demon Ihamasi of 
the barbarians (dasyu) manifested 
herself in a terrible form; 1 was 
delivered unto her in the manner of 
the non-believers and .ended in Iha- 
masi's realm. 

0 king, lend your ear to the 
religion that I brought unto the non- 
believers: after the punfication of the 
essence and the impure body and 
after seeking refuge in the prayers of 
the Naigama. man will pray to the 
Eternal. Through justice, truth, 
meditation and unity of spirit, man 
will find his way to Isa in the centre of 




BOOK EXTRACT 


light. God. as firm as the sun, will 
finally unite the spirit of all wandering 
beings in himself. I'hus, 0 king, 
lhamasi will be destroyed; and the 
blissful image of Isa. the giver of 
happiness, will remain forever in the 
heart; and 1 was called Isa-Masih,’ 
After the king heard these words, he 
took the teacher of the non-believers 
and sent him to their pitiless land. ” 
In this story (parts of which are 
translated literally here) it is very signifi- 
cant that the **teacher of the non- 
believers” called himself isa^Masih, 
which means quite simply “Jesus the 
Messiah”. The “demon lhamasi”, 
appears to have represented eveiything 
evil and wicked in a general sense, 
though the name cannot be found any- 
where else in the literature. The word 
Naigama evidently means some holy 
scripture(s), but here too, we find no 
indication as to what particular scripture 
is meant. According to Professor Hass- 
nain, King Shalivahan ruled in the 


Kushan era from 39 to 50 A.D. 

T 'here is more concrete evidence for 
Jesus’ presence in Kashmir, that are 
offered by stone carvings which have 
survived the flow and eddies of the 
centuries. One such piece of evidence is 
an inscription on the Throne of Solomon 
which alludes to Jesus. In 1413. Mullah 
Nadiri. a historian who lived during the 
rule of Sultan Zainul Aabidin. recounted 
part of the histor>» of the Throne. In his 
book on the history of Kashmir (Tarikh- 
i-Kashmir), he wrote that Gopananda. 
the son of Rajah Akh, ruled in Kashmir 
under the name of Gopadatta; and he 
had this lemple of Solomon (which was 
already a millenium old at the dawn of 
the Christian era) restored by a Persian 
architect. The Hindus noticed that the 
Persian w'as a non-believer and belonged 
to a different religion. 

The historian Mullah Nadiri continues: 
“At the time of the.nile of Gopadatta, 
Yuz A.saf came from the Holy Land up 


the burial pifloe of YuzAiaft- Jaaua)lafoundlnthaoantraoflhaoldtOMmof8rliiaoar 



IhehiitoriM 
•MUiNMiriwrilii: 

''At thtthwef Aerate 
6o|NMtellir Yiu Am! came 
fran tte Lmd ip Mo IMs 

vriby Md Mnouncid thil hi 
wtaprapliit HocModthe 

pi0|ii9 unioniniiMiiM 

p^ofthevaloy 

liaBMiAil lii UfeM 

dahataii bi fimi 


into this valley and announced that he 
was a prophet. He exemplified the 
heights of piety and virtue, and proc- 
laimed that he was himself his own 
mesage. that he was in God day and 
night, and that he had made (>od accessi- 
ble to the 'people of Kashmir. He called 
the people unto him. and the people of 
the valley believed in him. When the 
Hindus ciime to Gopadatta in indigna- 
tion. exhorting him to deal with the nu^n, 
he turned them away. 

1 read in a book of the Hindus that the 
prophet was really Hazrat Isa. the Spirit 
of God (God's peace and good will be 
with liim), and he adopted the name Yuz 
Asaf. True knowledge is with God. He 
spent his life in this valley. 

After his demise, he was buried in 
Mohalla Anziniarah. It is said that the 
light of prophecy emanates from the 
tomb of this prophet. King Gopadatta 
ruled sixty years and two months before 
he died. After his death, his son Gokaran 
mounted the throne and ruled for the 
span of fifty-eight years. ” 

D uring the Middle Ages, the story of 
“Barlaani and Josaphat" w^as an 
essential work of world literature willi 
which every educated person was famil- 
iar. There- were a great variety of 
translations and numerous versions of 
the story throughout Europe and the 
Near East, though the original was 
attributed to John Damaskonos. a dis- 
tinguished Arabian Christian who lived at 
about AD 700 in Jerusalem. The story, 
also known in some countries as “The 
Prince and the Dervish,” runs as fol- 
lows; Abaner, a powerful king of India, is 
told by an astrologer that his \'irtMous 
and wise son, Josaphat (or Joasaph) will 
convert from Islam to Christianity. In 
order to avoid the fulfilment of the 
prophecy, the king has a magnificent 
palace built so that the prince might 
jp-ow up and be educated in complete 
isolation. Despite all the security mea- 


91 



BOOK EXTRACT 


sures, Josaphat happens to see a blind 
man. an old man. and finally a dead man 
on separate occasions. Because the 
younR man is only surrounded by young 
and beautiful people in the paKice, the 
encounters are completely new experi- 
ences and oi)en his eyes to the realities 
of life. 

The prince then meets the ascetic 
Barlaam who converts him to Christian- 
ity. Although the King tries to dissuade 
his son from joining the new faith, and 
even offers him half his kingdom, 
Josaphat declines all offers, withdraws 
into isrilation, and spends the rest of his 
life as a pious ascetic. 

1'his charming tale is so moving and so 
full of profound truth that both Barlaam 
and joasaph were canonised by the 
Roman Catholic Church in 1583, and 
placed in the calendar of martyrs. Under 
■27 Novemlier, one can read: *Tn India, 
near the borders of Persia, Saints Bar- 
laam and joasaph. 'I'heir wonderful 
deeds have been portrayed by St. John 
of Damascus." Until the sixteenth cen- 
tury', it probably did not occur to anyone 
that the story was preci.sely the same as 
the legend of Prince Siddhartha, whq left 
his family and lived without shelter in 
order to become Buddha. The name 
josafat or josephat sounds so Jewish 
that no doubt ever arose as to its origin. 
But in fact the name can be traced back 
without difficulty to the Greek name. 
Joasaph; further to the Arabic name, 
Judasaph; and finally to the Kashmirian 
name Yusasaph. If one knows that the 
letters "J" and "B" are nearly identical in 
Syrian, Arabic and Persian, one can 
recognise the name Budasaf in the word 
Judasaf. And Budasaf means nothing 
other than Bodhi sattva, or a Buddha in 
the making (Skt. root budh~ know, 
sattvB' truth, purity; buddha- 
enlightened). 

The description of the attributes of 
Bodhisattva sounds very much like a 
portrayal of Jesus. A principal quality of 
Bodhisattva is such a degi*ee of compas- 
sion that he is prepared to take on the 
burdens of others and help sinners attain 
salvation. Even if a Bodhisattva seems 
to become guilty while performing his 
duty or doing some deed out of compas- 
sion. his first duty remains to secure the 
salvation of others. Jesus pursued this 
ideal with absolute earnestness by 
accepting the respohsibility for all the 
sins of the world, and allowing himself to 
be nailed to the cross as a sacrificial 
lamb. All the characteristics of a Bodhi- 
sattva can also be ascribed to Jesus. 

During the important fourth Council c f 
Kashmir in Haran near Srinagar under 
the auspices of Kanishka the Great, to 
which we have referred, Jesus must 



have been more than 80 years old, if he 
was still on earth. The’L.^l^efOrms 
introduced by the Council a’rc^itl Com- 
plete accord with the teaching of Jesus. 

'Ilie tomb of the prophet Yuz Asaf is in 
the middle of what is today Srinagar’s old 
town, in Anzimar in the Khailjar quarter. 
The building that was later built around 
the grave-stone is called "Kozabal", an 
abbreviation of "Rauza Bal". Rathk 


There are two long grave-stones on the 
floor of the inner burial chamber, both 
surrounded by wooden railings covered 
in heavy cloth. The railing is surrounded 
in turn by a stable wooden shrine. The 
larger grave-stone is for Yuz Asaf, the 
smaller one for the Islamic saint Syed 
Nasir-ud-Din, who was not buried here 
until the fifteenth century. Both grave- 
stones point from north to south in 
accordance with Moslem custom. But 
these grave-stones are in fact mere 
covers, and the actual graves are in a 
crypt under the floor of the building. A 
tiny opening allows one to look into the 
true burial chamber below. The sar- 
cophagus containing the earthly remains 
of Yuz Asaf points from east to west, in 
accordance with Jewish custom! This is 
clea’* proof that Yuz Asaf was neither an 
Islamic saint nor a Hindu. 

Ever since the days of the burial, 
worshippers have placed candles around 
the grave -stones. When Professor 
Hassnain removed the thick old layers of 
wax, he made a sensational discovery. 
The archaeologist found “footprints" 
carved into the stone and beside them a 
crucifix and a rosary. The "footprints” 
were meant to prove the identity of the 
deceased rather like fingerprints. As 
with the swastikas of Buddha’s foot- 
prints, characteristics can be seen in Yuz 
Asaf s footprints which are a unique and 
unmistakable proof of identity. The 
sculptor clearly illustrated the scars of 
the crucifixion wounds in the relief. The 
position of the wounds even indicates 
that the left foot had been nailed over 
the right, a fact that was confinned by 
analysis of the blood marks on the Turin 


means “the tomb of a prophet". Tflfe • 
building is rectangular and can be ■ 
tered bv a small portico which,basi,b^en i 
added to it. Above the pass^.l^jme 
actual burial chamber, one can read an 
inscription explaining that Yuz Asaf en- 
tered the valley of Kashmir many d^ilr- , 
turies before, and that his life t'tfPlte 


Shroud. Because crucifixion was un- 
known as a punitive measure in Asia, 
one could conclude this is the place of 
burial of Jesus. There are numerous 
historical sources in Kashmir that con- 
firm that Yuz Asaf and Jesus were one 
and the same. An old manuscript de- 
scribes the memorial as the grave of Jtsa 


dedicated to the search for the truth. Roob-U’Bah. "Each year thousands of 


pious believers make pilgrimages to the 


/ T1wdMcri|illon«f llw \ 
/ attributoiofBodhlMttvi \ 
’ lOundsvMyiiNiclilkia 

nartiwialiif JiMUM- A niW J wd 

lluAyrfBailBiim 
degree afcompiNloii Hut he 
L tepreperadtotakeenihe 

A burdpfiiirfpIliPfiandliPlD / 


tomb, not just Moslems, but also Hin- 
dus, Buddhists and Christians. Tl^e de* 
scendants of the old Israelites have 
remembered the true significance of the 
modest monument: they call the shrine 
"The tomb of Hazrat Isa Sahib,” i.e., the 
tomb of the Lord (master) Jesus. 
Ancient documents state that a protM- 
tiye building was constructed around the 
grave as long ago as 1 12 A. D. The grave 
has been tended by a succession of 
guardians without interruption, since its 
construction, q 

Ji9U9Av8tf/n//idlli^HolotrKtnlen. PiiUiahtdby 
Elemar>t Book Ltd., Longmoad. ShaRodbury. Oorsot 
(UK)?prlee:£S.9S. 


92 




I he tables have been well 
and truly turned. Parents, 
the 'eternal providers’ are 
now at the receiving end. The 
Unit Trust of India has 
evolved a scheme to provide 
pvents and elderly persons 
with financial security and 
income in times of need. As 
UTI'schainnanM.J. Pher- 
wani said, "it provides young 
people with an opportunity to 
show their love, respect and 
concern for their elders. " 
The amount that is invested 
grows and after four or five 
years is invested in UTFs 
monthly income unit scheme 
under which an annual di- 
vidend of 12 percent is paid 
on a monthly basis to the 
elderly person. One of the 
first persons to enrol in this 
scheme was minister for fi- 
nance, N.D. Tiwari. 


It was a competition with a 
difference. The contestants 
were trying to outdo each 
other in crying. I'his was the 
topic of the competition re- 
cently at the Til^ Smarak 



Mandir in Pune. The organis- 
ers who claimed that the 
competition was the first of 
its kind in the country also 
mentioned that as many as 
85 entries had been received 
for the event. Surpri- 
singly men received the first 
and second prizes in an "art " 
which has normally been 
considered a woman’s forte. 
However, a women’s quartet 
received the prize for group 
performance. One wonders 
what the organisers will 
come up wifii next time! 



Theftirt— pUdmilng during ttwtf Europe tour: ■ good show 


It does not necessarily take 
celebrities to draw large 
crowds, as the three young 
performing artistes recently 
discovered to their great de- 
light. Sushinita Baneijee. a 
Kathak danseuse, Ajoy Sen. 
a sitar player and Subhas 
Datta, a tabla player from 
Calcutta set out 9 ^ a 52-day 
tour of Europe, to enchant 
audiences with Indian dance 
and music. , 


The trio not only performed, 
they even tried to explain the 
basic differences that exist 
between the various forms of 
Indian dances and music, 
giving appropriate instances. 
Says Sen, "Not only did we 
receive the full attention of 
the audience but very often, 
they would actively partici- 
pate to demonstrate their 
enthusiasm by keeping beat 
with us.” Asks Banetjee 
wryly: "We have so many 


bio 


THIS INDIA 


• NEW jQIELHI: Finding a suitable match for an eligible 
male is blaming as much a ritual in animals as in man. in 
this respe^. the computer seems to be catching up with 
animals foe., the National Zoological Park here has recently 
acquired i^mputer to help 'matchmake' zoo animals from 
all over the cfoljntfj^The Times of India (B.B. Narang, New 
Delhi) » bro - • 

• ALLAHMAO: A glaring case of inefficiency of the postal 
departm^ came to light when two letters^ne posted 
from Deoria and the other from Ghaziabad— took almost 

^ eight and ten years respeefivety to reach their destination 
in Allahabad. P.N. Shlvpuri of New Balrahana recently 
received a letter posted on 25 May, 1978 and Chandoo 
from Deoria received a letter posted on 18 February. 
1979— The Northern India Patrlka ($. Gopat, Allahabad) 

e BANGALORE: An attempt to draw honey from a bee 
hive in a building created panic among among late evening 
workers in the building. Four honey-tippers had preapred 
a fire torch,.io idldtufb the honey bees. A few officers 

thadtheir 'sweet act’ had attracted a lot of observers down 
below, the honey-fappers, eacaped to avoid the wrath of 
the public'. Fife service personnel who rushed to the spot 
had to return to thpfr stetlone, cursing their fate— /nd/an 
Expreas (Radhika, Bangalore) 

ao far «*¥ gwH an 


exchange programmes. Why 
is it that even those in- 
terested in Indian dance and 
music, haven’t yet under- 
stood much, don’t yet know 
tlie basics, and still ask ques- 
tions like, "What’s Kathak all 
about?.” Perhaps, the Fes- 
tival of India authorities 
might have an answer! 


li/o caged lions become 
tame lions when they arc set 
free? The authorities at the 
Sakkarbagh zoo at Junagadh 
might have an answer to this 
question. When the zoo au- 
thorities yielded to pressure 
from several wildlife experts 
to release the lionesses kept 
captive in the zoo, nobody 
expected the controversy 
that was to follow. Reuben 
David, top wildlife expert and 
honorary advisor to the 
zoo has not looked with 
favour at the scheme that set 
free the lionesses in the four 
kilometre safari paric in the 
Gir forests. According to 
him, these animals, left to 
fend for themselves after 



posed to the threat of being 
attacked by other anunals. 
Moreover, since the liones- 
ses had always been pro- 
vided with fo^, it is likely 
that they will find it difficult 
to hunt down their prey. | 
Despite assertions by zoo 
offiaals that the animals will 
remain in the enclosed safari 
park, and thus will be away 
from their ferocious counter- 
parts, one cannot give up the 
feeling that they may have 
turned into tame cats. Only 
time will tell. 




93 






Srld«vl: baakfng In glory 


ors may come and 
actors may go, but Bachchan 
stays on for ever. Despite 
rumours about the star’s 
diminishing p()pularity. the 
Amitabh charisma remains 
untarnished. Amitabh rpay 
have been disntissed as a bad 
politician, his name has been 
dragged into umpteen politic* 
al controversies, but no one 
can question or doubt the 
’spell’ that he has cast over 
his audience in film after film. 
Since the superstar knows 
that his name spells success 
at the box-office, he has 
demanded astronomical 
prices from his producers 
who have obliged without a 
murmur. But this time Bach- 
chan’s calculation seems to 
have misfired. The release of 
Tinnu Anand’s Sbahenshah 
has been delayed ostensibly 
due to the fact that Amitabh 
has quoted an exorbitant 


price at the last moment. On 
the other hand, film-makers 
like Prakash Mehra, Man- 
mohan Desai and Ramesh 
Behl are stumbling over each 
other to make Bachchan sign 
on the dotted line. Even 
Raakesh Roshan, an actor 
who was once a bigger star 
than Amitabh has succumbed 
to the tempta tionof signing 
the superstar for his next 
film. As one film maker put 
it: the market for Amitabh is 
still very ’’hot”. They are not 
concerned with Amitabh, the 

94 


politician. As long as the 
superstar can give them 
good returns fi^m the box- 
office, they are happy. 
According to the latest re- 
ports, Amitabh signed his 
last film for more than a 
crore of rupees! What do his 
critics have to say about this? 

\N hen Rajshri Produc- 
tions launched a new face in 
Abodh, Bombay's film indus- 
try did not take much notice. 
After all Rajshri I’roductions 
was known to launch new 
stars. Satyajeet, Nameeta 
Chandra. Madhu Kapoor, 
Rameshwari — the list is end- 
less — all owe their debut to 
Rajshri films. So when the 
pretty Madhuri Dwit was 
launched, there was hardly 
any fanfare or publicity. The 
fact that Abodh flopped at the 
box-office confirmed the 
opinion of critics that 
Madhuri would be pushed 
into B-grade films as has 
happened with most of the 
Rajshri discoveries. Subhash 
Ghai, the malM of big films 
like Hern ahd Karma did not 
let this happen. Something in 
this young actress made the . > 
film imkcgr feel that Mad^iul 
would msdft;: itbig. fie de- 
cided to g«^..aSn?4t ^ promote 
her. leading tradet^jglfl^ 


and film magazines featured 
her in their columns— and 
Madhuri was brought into 
the limelight once again. 
Hifaazat and Uttar Dakshin 
with co-stars like Anil 
Kapoor and Jackie Shroff 
were announced. But luck 
did not last with the actress. 
Both the films crashed and 
Madhuri was back where she 
had begun. Subhash Ghai is 
terribly disappointed, but he 



Madluiri Mxlt: yM to mate a nw 


says optimistically, ’’Watch 
Madhuri in Ram Lakhan. You 
can call me a fool if you don’t 
.like her in the film. " Let’s 
hope he’s right for a change! 

T oday Sridevi is in a posi- 
tion to choose her roles. 
Nagna and Mr India have 
made her a hot name in the 
film industry. The actress 




who had made it big by virtue 
of her ’thunder thi^s' has 
gone in for a change of im- 
age. Films along the lines of 
Himmatwala, Tohfa» MawaaU 
and Maqsadare out for her. 
Mr India, which was essen- 
tially Anil Kapoor’s film, 
worked wonders for her. 
Critics raved about her per- 
formance and some even 
proclaimed that the film 
should have been titled ’Miss 
India'. All this has led to 
Sridevi demanding and even 
getting anything between Rs 
25 and 30 lakhs for a film. 
Producers are queueing up in 
large numbers to make her 
sign on the dotted line, but 
the No 1 actress is being 
extremely choosy about her 
roles. Harinesh Malhotra and 
Boney Kapoor are the only 
two producers who have 
found favour with her. With 
them she will w'ork and for 
them she is also willing to 
make compromises with re- 
gard to her role, the story 
and above all the amount to 
be paid to her. She has been 
signed up for two films to be 
made by Hannesh Malhotra. 
Boney Kapoor’s RoopKi 
Rani Choron Ka Raja has her 
in the lead with Anil Kapoor. 
Sridevi is ecstatic about her 
success. At a party to cele- 
brate the silver jubilee of Mr 
India, Sridevi was present 
with her entire family. ”lt is a 
grand day for me, ” she de- 
clared. 

certain journalist would 
do well to stay out of Rajni- 
kant’s reach. Reportedly the 
actor is upset with a column 
that appeared in a glossy 
magazine which has quoted 
him as saying that he would 
be quitting films. ”1 am what- 
ever I am because of acting. 
Otherwise 1 would have 
continued to be a bloody bus 
conductor, ” said the angry 
actor dispelling rumours. Re- 
portedly Rajnikant has been 
receiving calls from people 
who want to know if there is 
any truth in the rumours. 
”Tlie article has done a great 
deal of harm to me. No, 1 am 
not quitting films and 1 will 
not quit tfll they throw me 
out” repeats the bitter star.o 


li^eepika’s fens win soon 
be in for a big shock. The 
demure 'Sita’ who won the 
heart of many with her 
perfonnance in Ramanand 
Sagar's maffium opus, 
Rmayan, is aO set to lose 
her popularity. Deepika has 
played a ifamorous role 
(complete with revealing 
costumes) in a horror film, 
Raat ke Andhere Mein^z fer 
cry from the satr savitn 
image she had portrayed in 
the epic. Reportedly, the film 
was passed by the censors 
only after several ‘cuts'. 
Ramanand Sag^ is not too 
pleased witli Ms ‘Sita’ playing 
a character in the /Qmrmould. 
What he doesn't understand 
is that Deepika’s film career 
doesn't end with Ramayan! 

Supriya Pathak, it 
appears, has started hitting it 
big on television, llie 
one-time small star of the 
wide screen has now started 
becoming a big star of the 
small screen, the daughter 
of the veteran actress Dina 
Pathak, who nearly went 
unnoticed in such films as 
Aijimand Vijeta, has proved 
that she is versatile and feels 
at ease in any role: from 
being a tragedienne in her 



gupilyaia good psitonnino 


award-winning performance 
kiBaiaar io comedy roles in 
seiiafe like D<W. And 
XSadstgi, which is on the air 
flow, is any indication it's 
goodbye to low-profile. Her 
fofe as die wronged Kamal 
ttyingtofindapbeein 
society, has won her 
gocoMbs. Tele-viewers will 




OMpIka: attrscHns ths fiolfos of ewisprt 


certainly lo<'k forward to 
seeing more of her on the 
small saeen. 


Eiven awards failed to 
attract Alok Nath, Aneeta 
Kanwar and Satish Shah to 
the TV awards nite which 
was hosted by the Bombay 
Medical Aid Foundation. 
Since most television stars 
nurse ambitions of joining the 
big screen bandwagon, the 
small screen is used by them 
simply as a stepping stone to 
reach their goal. The 
ungrateful tele-stars are 
allergic to being referred as 
TV stars', due to some 
mispbeed belief that it 
affects their prospects of 
getting feature film 
assignments. 


Louis 


uis Banks was an un- 
known person till Manoran- 
jan and Nat Dishayen took 
him to the heights of the 
popularity charts. 

Recently, Banks 
has managedto land himself 
in trouble. The signature 
tune of the Doordarshan 
news which has been scored 
by him b not liked by many 
brause of its Western fla- 
vour. Anjad Ali Khfui, an 
artist of repute feeb 
that the signature t 
should be distinctly c 


wholly Jena, albs Bijoya, 
must be smiling at last. The 
dusky actress who was seen 
in brief roles in films like 
Hum IGsise Kum Nahin, 
Razia Sultan, Anuna and 
Zabardast failed to make an 
impact on the . ^ 

auMence. Despite 
the fact that Dolly 
prepared 
t?/!:ire'her 
way to the top 
of the box-office ' 
charts, she 
couldn't draw crowds. 

When stardom, it 
seemed, would be 
eternally elusive, DoUy 
decided to try her luck 
with.the small screen. 
Manju Singh of Ek 
K^/if offered her 
aroleinher 
serial but 


that was the end. Months 
passed and just when it 
seemed that Dolly was not 
meant for the big time, an 
opportunity presented itself 
on a golden pbtter. She was 
signed up for the 
Merchant-Ivory filin7he 
Deceiversl Reportedly, 

DoUy has given a great 
performance opposite Pierre 
Brosnan (of Ibe Fourth 
fVotrxro/fame). Kumar 
Vasudev of Hum Log was so 
taken up by her performance 
that he immedbtely signed 
her up for his serial 
Ganffevfa, based on the 
novel by Tarashankar 
Bandopadhyay. “My 
character of an immoral girl 
will win the sympathy of 
viewers because she is a 
selfless person who is always 
helping others, ” says the 
dusky actress, who is bent 
on projecting both her 
histrionics and sex-appeal on 
the small screen. 

P.C 






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I. Company, with my being around journ^st, is a funny 
situation. (6) 

4. Beastly trail confused friend outside with suitor's offer. (6) 

10. Little boy on a range is innate. (7) 

II, Agent in skin to get ready! (7) 

12. At home with confidence? On the contrary. (10) 

13. Smacks of success, evidently. (4) 

1^. Oriental member with single account is 'finiburnful. (7) 

17. Kerchief reveals large number smothered by fruit. (7) 


19. Not necessarily an express coach. (7) 

21. Point falls back and passes. (7) 

23. Expectation shown by softness in farm implement. (4) 

24. Danpe steps showing outer spite, strangely. (10) 

27. Pear with eggs tossed back on rotter? Nothing! (7) 

26. Southerner encountered collection of stories for composer. 
(7) 

29. Gem for Diwali. perhaps. (8) 

30. Authenticate a junction on trial? (6) 


DOWN: 

1. As temperate as Asia, perhaps. (9) 

2. Artist discloses spouse vrith one inner Nazi body« (7) 

3. Orders which ways to go, evidently. (10) 

5. Regarding place can gather having good name. (9) 

6. Look closely at one's equal. (4) 

7. Endurance of a bird under way? (7) 

8. Deposit of not so much, having nothing. (5) 

9. Cast aspersion, not being distinct. (4) 

14. Appointment not always before the alter! (10) 

16. Steroid affects nose, or tic. (9) 

18. Helper, fool one thoroughfare worker. (9) 

20. Large vase containing a speed, alternatively article. (7) 

22. To glut, placed oneself on chair, one consumed. (7) 

23. Cures these no>good types, it's said. (5) 

.25. Eject from knightly combat which has not started. (4) 
26. Financial riverside set-up? (4) 


SoIuHor to CniswinI Nt. M 

SCMSS: 1 Dpcomposad 6 Spar 9. Incendiary 10 Scop 12. Mist 13. Importune 
15 Gleaning 16. Sneeze 18. Rumour 20. Foliated 23 Pavilions 24 Pune 26 
Orbs 27. Decelerate 28 Eyes 29. Glistening 

SOWN: 1 Dnp 2 Cocaino 3 Monotonously 4 Opinions 5 Enrapt 7 Picture B 
Reprehends 11 Frontispiece 14 Agoraphobe 17. Monsters 19 Movable 21. 
Timpani 22 Boreal 25 Berg 

Compiled by Rita Tewarl 



.,‘ 5 . 





O 





HUM 

a ifUt. ! 

o 









itmiAuu/od, nMufii 







UVa-ejamisryiSas 


97 







Co optM stnwroont'at Co-opiei Malulaimi. No 164. 0 DN Bond.NvarVT Station. Tort, Bombay 400001 * No P.AainikPtanBiiicling.No 3ii8 
Rnanoarkei Rciad Maiunga Bmbay * Udyog Mandir No. t, Baaemanl. 7-C Pitambar Lane. Mahim Bombay • Hwh Baug. Pioi No 72. M l).S Marg, 
Near Railway Station. Ctiembijr Bombay • No 4, Rupam Bwldnig. Sion Circle, Sion Bombay • No 2. Malhou j Houwi (Oitpoaitn to G P 0 ) Walchand 
HHachand Maig. ^olt. Bpmbay * 10-174, Gurudwaia Road, Karoibagh New Oelbt * Pudu Pavu Co-opteK Showroom C/1. Slate Emoona Compiea 
BMKirner'i Bdba Kharak Singh Mara. New Delhi * 165. Serotm Market. New Delhi « ?e64/52. Bank Sbeat Karoihagti, New Oettn * Shop No 4, 
Ground flom. Rajm House, Nehiu naca. New Delhi • Bala Co uptaRahowroom, 22-B Khan New Delhi * 128 Ha/ara Road Calciitta a B'l. 
Oar m I arH< T splanade Calcutta a 1 26. Rash Behan Avenue ;iii(ailn a /|poa Bo/aar Op, ^ Aim High SctHXii. Near Kumar Baiamanda. 

JantnaqaT * Apna Bazaar, Govammeol Buddmg Sardar park vJa^f'.iia. AlimadBlfad * Sriop No 120 to 122 and ^52 15A. First Floor Bloch C. 
Mauryalah i Patna a No 8 A Bloch Mauryatok ‘ < 80 mple«. Patna 


[3IPR2921/MS/67 EtHiCt^RI 




LOSING HIS 
HOLD7 

lA#Uy Congress(l) leader 
WW K. Karunakaran is 
being pushed into the wilder- 
ness again, despite his best 
efforts to return to the lime- 
light. He is neither here nor 
there, as a wag quipped. 
Once acclaimed as one of the 
best parliamentarians, the 
former chief minister of 
Kerala could not even get 
into the headlines during the 
Legislature session. Hither 
Ramachandran Masteror in- 
j dbstries minister Gown stole 
the show, leaving Karuna- 
karan a poor second in all 
major events the Legislature 
saw. On the national front, 
where politics is getting back 
to routine after those turbu- 
lent days of Bofors and Fair- 
ly, Karunakaran is finding it 
dif^ult to find a forum. Even 
Prime Minister Rajiv (iandhi 
who had named Karunakai an 
as the convenor for a com- 
mittee to draw up a new 
socio-economic policy for the 
party, has of late started 
attacking socialist policies to 
deter Karunakaran from pre- 
senting the draft policy he . 
has prepared to the p^y 
supremo. Tlie discomfiture 
faced by Karunakaran has 
I made A. K. Antony's men 
jump with joy, as they con- 
tinue the task of weeding 
Karunakaran’s men out from 
party outfits. As a former 
Karnataka minister who 
managed Kerala affairs for a 
while said, Karunakaran and 
company aie placed so 
awkwardly tlut whatever lit- 
tle the Con^ess(I) does 
stands out in comparison. 


HEGDETALKS 

tOUGH 

ctkm is about to Start, 
t the much-maligned 
Hegde miiiistry is aU set to 
gH pruned. As aprelude to 
the Yestnicturing’ of his jum- 
.bo ministry of 35 members, 
Ifegde has already started 



Kanimiksran: wily 

talking tough to his col- 
leagues. T^e way he chose 
two of his colleagues for a 
dressing-down at an informal 
cabinet meeting the other 
day speaks volumes for 
what might follow. The pub- 
licily-crazy fisheries minister 
Raj^upathy’s interview in 
Lankesh Fatrike—^ bitter 
critic of Hegde — seemed the 
proverbial last straw on the 
camel's back. Hegde flogged 
Raghupathy for certain re- 
makes which he believed 
were plainly aimed at him 
alone. The Deve Gowda 
gang in the cabinet jumped 
with joy on hearing Hegde at 
his abusive best. Soon 
enousjb, the CM turned 
around and attacked a Gowda 
man— a junior minister— 
B.L. Shankar Gowda, for his 
diatribe against the govern- 
ment and the ruling party at a 
seminar. 

As a dissident leader quip- 
ped, Hegde's selection his 
coUeagues for the dressung 
down dearly indicated the 
man’s iiund. That ineahs,as a 
pro-Hegde element de- 
ciphered the message, both 


pro and anti-Gowda elements 
in the ministry are on the 
chopping block. The head 
count is on as every other 
minister is counting the 
othe*^ ^ out. Contra^ to ex- 
pe' ions, dissidents are ' 
bent on doing something to 
embarrass the leader. 


THE POOR 

MAN’S 

SAVIOUR 

A s the great election 
machine of '89 crunches 
awake, Congressd) aspir- 
ants in Karnataka Imve 
already begun their early 
bird stretdies. Some guess- 
timates have it that the Lok 
Sabha polls' should be 
announced as early as Janu- 
ary ’89, and so those who 
to get into the good 
books of those who wield the 
nomination pens, figure they 
don’t have that mu^ time 
left. And (rf course, the men 
who matter are none other 
than the add-tongued janar- 


CCAN DIARY 


MAHA KUMBAKONAM 


dhan Poojary and the mild- 
mannered Oscar Fernandes. 
The trouble is, Oscar is often 
in Delhi, and Poojary is not 
easy tp deal with. He makes 
no bones about fus dislikes, 
and minces no matters in 
dealingwith obsequious 
partymen. 

Recently, one party MP 
was publicly chastised for 
firequenting the party office 
rather than his constituency. 
Poojary hinted that the ij»x)r 
man may not get another 
chance, making his oppo- 
nents quite gleeful. 


P.UPENDRA: 
ON THE RISE 

T he star of at least one 
person in the be- 
leaguered Telugii Desam, 
which is under attack trom all 
comers, is again on the rise. 
The man is none other tlian 
the leader of the Telugu 
Desam Parliamentary Party, 
P. Upendra. He was in great 
trouble a few months ago, as 
the all powerful son-in-law of 
NTR^Chandrababu Naidu, 
was out to get his party's 
nomination to the R^ya 
Sablia. The entry of Naidu to 
the House of Elders in Delhi 
would automatically mean 
the exit of Upendra from the 
coveted postof parliamentary 
party leader of the largest 
Opposition party in Parlia- 
ment. Upendra did try to get 
another son-in-law, DrVerit- 
ateshwara Rao, to help him 
out at that time. But the 
sudden turn of events which 
saw NTR sacking his number 
two,Srinivasulu Reddy, the 
writ petition filed by Dronam 
Raju ^atyanarayana of the 
Congressd) and the Con- 
gress(I)'s allout attack on 
NTR, restored the balance in 
the ruling party. Help came 
from yet another quarter to 
send Upendra’s stock soar- 
iug in the party. It came from 
Mrs Sonia Gandhi. Although 
no one really knows what the 
PM’s wife told Upendra, the 
controversy instantaneously 
saw Upendia in the limeli^t. 


tUfiMV 9-^ January 18BB 


99 


Crusader 

Jethmabni 

T he activities of Rajiv- 
baitcr, Ram Jethmala- 
ni,are getting curiouser and 
curiouser. The lawyer has 
never missed an (*pportMnity 
to point out how he helped in 
the crusade against comip> 
tion. After all was it not he 
who battled in the courts to 
throw out the corrupt suitan 
of Maharashtra, A. R. 
Antulay? 

But wliile he condemns 
corruption in public places, 
the eminent lawyer quietly 
jets to Bangalore and Hyder- 
abad to act as counsel for the 
sons of chief ministers N. T. 
Rama Rao and Ramakrishna 
Hegde, who are facing 
charges of corruption. 
Obviously Jethnialani be- 
lieves that there’s nothing 
wrong with corruption as 
long as it’s not Congressmen 
who are lining their pockets. 


Theartofwinnii^ 

elections 

T he Congress(I) could 
learn a lesson or two 
from the Shiv Sena when it 
comes to the art of winning 
elections. Though the Shiv 
Sena can't boast of super- 
stars on its rolls, it still 
manages to get both thi^ 
support of tl^ filmwallas and 
win the election, as Dr 
Ramesh Prabhoo's elec- 
tion to the Vile Parle seat in 
the recent Assembly polls 
proved. Apparently, the Shiv 
Sena appealed to the film 
folks, most of whom are 
residents of Vile Parle, to 
vote for Prabhoo. In fact, 
many of them, like Mandaki- 
ni, Mithun Chakraborty. Raj 
Babbar and Sbatnighan Sinha 
even participated in 
Prabhoo’s poll campaigns. 

Bal Thackeray, to show his 
appreciation attended a 
lot of mahurats, including 
that of the Mandakini- 
starrer, RoopKiRani, Chor- 
on Ka Raja, So, it seems that 
the Congress(l) lost not so 
much due to Prabhoo’s char- 
isma as to the appeal of 
I Prabhoo’s star campaigners. 

100 





Troubled tlme f for. 
BhaskarGhenh 

I s the director general of { 
Doordarshan, Bhaskar 
Ghosh, on his way out? IPs ^ 
well known that the director 
general doesn’t see eye to 
eye with information aiid 
broadcasting minister Ajit 
Panja. Moreover, Ghosh has 
made no secret of the con- 
tempt that he has for Door- 
darsh^’s prime-time prog- 
rammes and has often 
said that if he had his 
way he wouldn’t 
telecast serials at 
all. But now it’s Ghosh’s 
recent action of shifting the 
Parliament news programme 
from prime-time to a late 
night slot, which has enraged 


The prince and 
politics 

W hat do newly-married 
yuvarajs do for a living? 
Join politics seems to be the 
answer, or at least this is so 
in the case of Yuvariy Vik- | 
ramaditya whose marriage 
to Madhavrao Scindia's 
daughter, Ri^kuman Chitran- 
gada, was cited as the Indian | 
version of the Prince 
Charles-Diana wedding. But 
for Vikramaditya the nuptials 
turned out to to a launching 
Vikramaditya: Joining politica 



pad for a political career. At 
the public reception accorded 
to the newly-wefte, back 
home in Jamnni, ‘Vikrama- 
ditya, sayk his father Karan 
Singh, got^t^ Chance to be 
introduC^Yd'the people 
whom he Wilt serve in the 
future. With his son ready to 
take on the mantle, Singh 
now plans to retire from 
active politics and settle 
down to “writing, while my 
children will now serve the 
people.” 

Our overworked 
politicians! 

I f Ronald Rergan can get 
away from the rough and 
tumble of politics every 
weekend and retire to the 
quiet and peace of his ranch 
in Santa Barbara, California, 
and Rajiv Gandhi can sneak 
away to the Lakshadweep 
Islands for a holiday, $p can 
our politicians and ministers. 
At least that’s what Ghulam 
Nabi Azad hopes will hap- 
pen in the near future. The 
Congress(I) general secret- 
ary feels that all the minis- 
ters and politicians should be 
compulsorily sent on holiday 
at least once a year, so that 
they can unwind after the 
*great strain' they undergo 
throughout the year. 



Bhatkar Ghoah: AgMIng a loaing 
Panja. The minister has had 
to free a host of annoyed 
Parliamentarians, who took 
great pride in being featured 
on the idiot box during 
prime-time. Panja, of course, 
has promised to look into the 
matter. Will this then be the 
crucial issue over which 
Ghosh’s future will be de- 
cided? 


SaUiyuflndtfiiaw 

medhim 

D irector M.S.Satl^ 
seems to have lit it oS 
with Doordarshan, almost 
despite himselL The film^ : 
maker, of Garam Kinva 
fame, prefers filma to televi^ 


Ram Jathmatan): protacUng lha corrupt? 




81011 and is working on a 
couple of scripts too. But as 
the offl)eat dnema move- 
ment has taken quite a beat- 
ing in the recent past, 

Sathyu, like so many of his 
tribesmen, has switched 
over to the sure-fire 
moneysp^rs: television 
serials. 

So, right after his work on 
Masti Venkatesh Iyengar's 
short stories for Madras and 
Bangalore Doordarshan, 
Sathyu has taken up another 
13-episode serial. But this 
time he is on more familiar 
ground: a drama about Pun- 
jab based on a new script by 
G. S. Duggal, provisionally 
entitled, Choh Daman, This 
is no horror story of terrorist 
killings and political blunder- 
ings. Instead, Sathyu is set 



M.8. Silhyu: ■ dHtaiwiI alory 


to rediscover the natural am- 
ity between Hindus and 
Sikhs, as lie feels that not 
enough of the positive stuff 
has been highlighted. 

But how wUI the cynical 
readers of a relatively free 
press respcmd to the more 
optimistic picture that 
emerges from the state- 
controlled tube? 


PMittinig a pretty 
plctiira 

^ne M^uja-Mukhi wed- 
I ding gave Bombay’s 
wags slot to talk about 
ram the moment the invita- 
tion cards—epedally de- 
signed by the star-painter of 

•UNMY»-»J«Hi«yt988 





llmilla Oupla: ■ running battlt wHh Tambay-Valdya 


rate of film festivals, lirmila 
Gupta,is an open secret. So 
anxious are Tanibay-Vaidya 
and her followers in the 
NFDC to see the ouster of 
(lUpUi that the NFOC b'in 
ployees Association has even 
issued a circular asking that 
Gupta, who is a civil sen'ant, 
be reverted to the informa- 
tion and broadcasting minis- 
try's department of field 
education and antjther incum- 
bent be found for the post of 
executive director of the 
directorate, llie circular has 
even found its way to the 
PM’s office. Bui knowing the 
bureaucratic ways of the 
government, which has not 
yet stirred itself to act upon 
the recommendation that the 
NFDC and the directorate be 
delinked from each other, it’s 
doubtful whether this prob- 
lem will receive the I and B 


the Christie’s auction, M.F. 
Husain — were sent out, 
tongues have not stopped 
wagging. Hinduja. it was 
said, had spent thousands to 
get the cards designed by 
Husain. And now, it's tlie 
painter himself who has risen 
in defence of S.P. Hinduja. 

Husain, in a long letter to a 
city tabloid, claimed that the 
four paintings which were 
printed for the invitation 
cards, had been among the 
Hindujas’ personal art collec- 
tion. "Using these paintings 
as the basis, the wedding 
cards had been made, " wrote 
Husain. He also added that 
the cost of printing the cards 
in bulk had worked out to 
about Ks 5 per card, which is 
"a very modest amount. . . Us. 
ually wedding cards are sent 
along with sweets in silver or 
met^ bowls costing no less 
than Rs 200 or Rs 300. 
Hinduja refrained from this 
practice in view of the severe 
drought conditions. " 

But that's not aU. The 
master-painter waxed elo- 
quent about the charitable 
programmes launched by the 
Hinduj»foundation and their 
contribution to the preserva- 
tion of Indian art and culture. 
Husain's spirited defence of 
the Hindujas is hardly likely 
to win him or S. P. Hinduja 
any friends. In fact, it might 


I even spark off anot her con - 
troveisy. 




Fighting for 


ministry’s attention. Mean- 
while. the two ladies will 
continue to fight their pitched 
battles. 

Compiled by Adlto Cluitter|ee 















™TirrwmTiTfr '"w 



THERM’S NEW 
HOUSE 

Ithough the Prune 
#^Miiiister is the most 
powerful political and execu- 
tive functionary, his house 
has always been an undis- 
tin^ish^ looking place. 
Wl^e the President is 
housed in a magnificent red 
sandstone palace surrounded 
by expanses of green, the 
Prime Minister has to live in 


being drawn up for building a 
permanent prime ministerial 
residence somewhere along 
Willingdon Crescent, in a re- 
latively deserted area behind 
Rashtrapati Bhavan. The 
place is obviously going to be 
secure and well-protected. It 
will also have the stamp of 
artistic genius. 

A group of seven well- 
known Indian artists has 
been requested by Sonia 
Gandhi to decorate the in- 
terior of the new house. But 
all seven have been asked 




BachfihMiz maklno a ooiiMbeckT 


office at 2A. Motilal Nehru 
Marg and Delhi itself. In- 
stead, he has concentrated 
on his film career. 

But now that he has been 
invited to join the Prime 
Minister and family in l^k- 
shwadeep, Bachchan is sud- 
denly back in the public eye. 
He is seriously considering 
whether to stand from Alla- 
habad (now that the Raja has 
chickened out and suggested 
putting up Bhure Lai instead) 
but is being advised to avoid 
getting into politics consider- 
ing how much he has suf- 
fered already. He will take a 
final decision only after the 
results of the inquiry into 
Ajitabh are announced. 


TAXING 

PROBLEMS 

T he chief ministers of 
seven non-Congress(l) 
ruled states who met in Cal- 
cutta on 15 December would 
not have created the uproar 
they did over the functioning 
of the Ninth Finance Com- 
mission if only they knew 
about the tardy process 
made by the body since it 
was set up in June this year. 
Unlike the previous ei^t 
commissions, t|iis one 
headed by N.K!P. Salve, 

MP, was not merely an exer- 
986 to fill the gaps ^ex- 
penditure incurred by the 
Centre and the states. Salve 


and his team had to evolve a 
“normative approacji** in the 
assessment^ receipt yod 
expenditure on the levmie 
accounts of the states 4Hd. 
the Centre. It was tlds ciausett 
inthetermsofrefomceof ' 
the Salve commission that 
the chief ministers alleged 
was a “blatant attempt to 
centralise powers”. 

A senior member of the 
commission, however, in- 
formed that due to the con- . 
straints of time, the Pina^ . 
Commission n^t not be 
able to submit its prelections ■ 
for 1989-90. In aH pn^bility . 
it would complete the second 
report making projections for 
the years 1990-1995 before 
the deadline of 30 June, 

1989, when the term of the 
commission expires. For 
next year's distribution of 
funds, the commission will 
rely on the broadluie recom- 



N.K.P. Saha: eMsnglng fob 


mendations of the earlier 
commission headed by Y. B. 
Chavan. “One does not know 
how to adopt a normative 
pattern so soon”, the official 
said. Therefore, till 1990 the 
disbursement of internal 
taxes would remain at 85 per 
cent for the states and 45 per 
cent of the other taxes 13m 
excise win be granted to the 
states. The marathon exer- 
cise of assessing the. grants- 
in-aid for the various states 
win be taken up cj|||Mater. 
For the pres^tfK Ninth 
^ issionwinbe 
llgpfie prevkma dyreo« 














■ 11i«Cona;rMi(l):’^« 
Mis into imrepsir 4^ 
■ Ths govemmsnt is caugM 
in an intomsi dsM trap 
B The public sector 
continues to drain resources 
B The 21st century 
becomes b moth-eaten cHche; 



YCI^KA CtICCSC 

mm Ki cti€€sci 

VERKA Cheese. A mouth-watering treat. 

Smooth. Cieamy. Nourishing. So convenient 
when your appetite Is at stake. Delicious 
delight In every bite. 

veflca ~ THE CHEESE TO CHOOSE 



cbmiiNTs ’ 


VOLUME 1 5 □ ISSUE 7 n RS 5.00 AN ANANDA BAZAR PUBLICATION 

10-16 JANUARY 1988 


COVER STORY 22 

THE GOVERNMENT THAT 
DOES NOT WORK 

After a year of scai^s. drought 
and defeat, Rajiv Gandhi is 
saddled with a government 
snagged by discord and 
non-performance. What happened 
to the grandoise promises made 
three years ago? Why are the 
masses disillusioned y^’ith the 
Congress government? 


SPECIAL REPORT 12 

DARJEELING’S DIRTY 
WAR 



With the West Bengal 
government ordering a 
crackdown, the Gorl^and 
activists are on the run. And .the 
influence of Subash Ghisingh's 
Gorkha National Liberation Front 
on 'he Nepali-speaking masses 
also appears to be on the wane. A 
report. 



NEWSWATCH 34 

KIDNAPPED! 

The Naxalites demonstrated 8ieir 
strength by kidnapping eight lAS 
officers in Andhra Pradesh and 
freeing them only after several 
Naxalite prisoners were let out of 
the state prisons by the 
government. How true is the 
allegation made by the Teldgu 
Desam that the drama was 
stagemanaged by the Centre to 
discredit the state government? 


Cover trenapareiicy : Sondeep Shankar 
Cover artwork: Sandip Bhattacharya 


PfInM and pubNM fsr Ananiti Star PMrta Ud W OR KiinMr Bmu 
by Aaak SNiiar frotn 6 A • PraMi Siftar SiMil Caleutt 100 001 
Alfaurcha>BalofWt)nii TaaiamilaiaaAOpalBaftripaByaii-PaWanJ FApwa 
flOpalaa 


PLACES 39 

SACRED CITYy SECULAR 
TIMES 



From being the holy of holies for 
the Hindu pilgrims, Banaras is 
developing a new identity. 


FOCUS 49 

A STATE OF CRISIS 

Despite undertaking a number of 
populist schemes, the people of 
Karnataka seem to be 
disillusioned with the Hegde 
administration. What has gone 
wrong with the Janata 
government? 


SUNDAY SPECIAL 59 
MADRAS SANSMGR 

For several days after M.G. 
Ramachandran's death, violent 
mobs took over the streets of 
Madras. Cartoonist Ravi Shankar 
witnessed the arson and looting. 


NEWS 52 


BUSINESS 87 


BOOK REVIEW 83 

TNERAJAPOUMIST 




1 

s 


1 





4 


€‘ 

^ / y 



AreviewofNindC. ChaudhurTs 
btestbook, TbyHM, Great 
AaaitU 


KliauBaat74 
Small Serwn 75 
Suiidaywaek76 
OddaaiMiTraBd8 77 
SpotUglitW 





OPINION 


j r.Trin'ia— 


1 Tlie scandal that 
; won't go away 





NEVER-ENDING 

TALE 


Exjxess was allowed to draft 
the letter of the then Presi- 
dent Giani Zail Singh. The 
most curious part of your 
story is the facX that V.P. 
Singh and Bhure Lai have not 
been indicted directly. After 
all, if it can be proved that 
V.P. Singh as the Union 
finance minister, had hired 
Fairfax for any uJtenor mo- 
tive, then R 2 Qiv Gandhi too 
will have to share the blame, 
as the head of the Cabinet 


^^our cover story {Fair- 
■ 6acThe scandal that 
won Y go away, 20—26 De- 
eemb^) read ^e an absorb- 
ing novel with a lot of di- 
maxes. The findings of the 
Thakkar-Natapian Commis- 
sion on the Fairto issue 
were horrifying and indicate 
that we are witnessing the 
decay of our political system. 
I feel the feud between Bom- 
bay Dyeing and Nusli Wadia 
is at the root of the Fairfax 
imbroglio. The anti-R^v In- 
dSanExpreas, only lent a 
hehxnghand to B^bay 
I Dyeing in this fight It is 
strange that S. Mulgaokar, 
the former editor of Incfiim 


■The Thakkar-Natars^ 
Commission was noth^ 
more than *1iis master's 
voice". The commission has 
only succeeded in opening 
the flood gates of fresh con- 
troversies. It has not been 
able to initiate action against 
those who are ille^y 
stashing money in Swiss 
banks. 


OmdlMaM 




■We must praise the Thak- 
kar-Natanyiui Commission 
for bringing out the truth 
about tte Fairfax issue. It is 
unfortunate that a section of 
the so-called intellectuals are 
overlooking the truth and 



finding fault with the commis- 
sion's report After becom- 
ing the finance minister, V.P. 
Sbi^ operated like a dtotor 
and allowed his tax officials to 
harass businessmen. After 
going through the Thakkar- 
Natarajan Commission's re- 
port t!]« Prime Minister 
should institute an enquiry 
into the harassment of 


businessmen dur^ V.P. 
Sink's nnance ministership. 


rmrn&immmda 


DOUBLE 

STANDARDS 

Agreements fail not be- 
#%cause the two parties 
concerned are unequal but 
because of double standards 
of the people at the negotiat- 
ing table {Why accords fail, 
20—26 December). Agree- 
ments and accords will al- 
ways be opposed by some 
sections of the people for 
their selfish reasons. 
However, if the government 
takes too loi^ to control the 
so-called anti-social ele- 
ments, then it could only 
mean that these people are a 
social force to reckon with. 
The government, which is 
one of the parties which sign 
the accords, must never 
forget that it derives all its 
power from the common 
people and therefore cannot 
last if there is resenmient all 
around. 

UNEQUAL 

TREATMENT 

^^our report (Waiffi]|g/br 
■ justice, 2B—26Decem- 
ber) reveals the double stan- 
dards of Indian democracy. 
At the dr^ of a hat, persons 
with political connections 
rush off to USA at the gov- 
ernment's expense. But the 
Rtyasthan goveniment does 
not think that a person who 
has been paraly^ for life 
because of negligence at a 
government hospital, should 
be sent abroad to treat- 
ment 



OUR LOVELY 
MODELS 


T he article (The foceso/ 
1988, 20— 26 Decem- 
ber) made interesting read- 
ing. Television has r^y re- 


volutionised the world of 
advertisii^ and made us 
familiar with a host of models 


who are engaged in promot- 
ing various products. We 
look forward to reading arti- 
cles on not only female mod- 
els but also male models. 



BOLD CRITICISM 

E# udos to Kul^ Nayar for 
■ mhis bold criticism of the 
Prime Minister {OntheSne, 
IS— 19 December). By 
violating trafik rules and by 
dismissing bureaucrats at 
random, Rajiv Gandhi has 
proved that he does not care 
for the norms of democracy. 
Fortunately, the Prime 
Minister has not been able to 
victimise journalists like Mr 
Nayar who dare to sp^ 
a^iinst Mm. Is the Prime 
Minister leading the country 
towards the 21st century or 
is he creating the kind of 
atmosphere that prevailed in 
the 18th century when auto- 
crats ruled the roost? 



KILLER GOLD 


G old is a metal which 
serves no real purpose 
and creates artificial prbb- 
lems for the people (The 
great gold msh, IS— 19 De- 
cember). Isn't it strange that 
people have this craze for 
gold ornaments? It is all the 
more strange that gold is 
offered to gods and goddes- 
ses in the temples. The gov- 
ernment as w^ as rdiglm 
institutions should disoour-. 
age the "worship of the yel- 
low metal". Gold is after all 
just another metM. Or, 
would it be more appropriate 
to can it the "bride killing 
metal"? 



4 







THE PRINCIPLE 
OF CONSENSUS 

J. Akbar has rightly 

pointed out that any 
mainline potitical party or 
front in India must work in 
the principle of consensus 
13--19Dece- 
mberXUnfortuiiateiy. 
neither the ruling p^y nor 
the Opposition believes in 
this phUosc^hy any kmger. I 
agree that in a democratic 
set-up, every person has the 
rig^t to assert his or her 
opinion but regarding certain 
fundamental issues, one has 
to reach a consensus. Or 
else the nation cannot sur- 
vive. 

(MadkymPhJmSS^^ 

■M.J. Akbar's article was 
thought-provoking. Perhaps 
there is a serious threat to 
India's integrity. The col- 
umnist sho^d throw some 
light on the fret that the 
smaller Indian states feel ins- 
ecure as the larger states are 
more powerful in Parlia- 
ment— because of our sys- 
tem of proportional repre- 
sentation. This, I feel, is a 
serious problem for our 
country because the feeling 
of insecurity might lead to 
secessionist movements. 
DIP. Bonoth, KHmkmiiAMMnd 


THEVALUEOFA 

COMMITTEE 


T he article (Poibrs: How 
thegunwaschoserh 
13—19 December) seeks to 
devalue the Mayadas Com- 
mittee's repc^ on the eva- 
luation of various guns. But if 
the report was as irrelevant 
as it has been made out by 
the author, then one won- 
ders why the government 
wantedtodetettheOpposi- 
tkm's attempt to place the 
report in Pariiament 


FINDING FAULT 
WITH ENGLISH 

I twaseasyforKhushwant 
to bid fruit with the 



kind of English spoken and 
Wiitten by Indians (Gossip 
sweet and sour, 13— 19 De- 
cember). But as usual, the 
columnist has not probed 
deep into the subject. White 
he has pointed out the so- 
called wrong usages, he has 
friled to say what the correct 
usages should be. How does 
he expect the average Indian 
reader to find fruit with the 
English used by leading Indi- 
an journals? 


THE POWERS OF 
THE PRESS 


T he report on the busi- 
ness mandarins' appetite 
for newspaper establi^- 
ments (The great newspaper 
heist, 6^12 December) 
makes it dear that certain 


businessmen are trying very 
hard to use the ' 'powers of 
the press” to guard their 


business interests. In our 
democracy the press plays 
the role of a watchdog and it 
will be a tragedy if newspap- 
ers like The Statesman be- 
come the mouthpieces of in- 
dustrial houses. The normal 
reader does not look forward 
to reading about the truth 
spoken by the Goenkas or 
the Birlas. They only ask for 
the “plain and simple truth” 
B§§¥^tkm,Baneiil(BUmr} 

ON TOP 

O ne cannot doubt the 
efficacy of the modem 
ndian army for the simple 
. sason that it has been able 
to guard our borders for all 
these years (Under Sre, 29 
November— 5 December). It 
is unfair to associate the 
present army with the fri- 
lures of the fodian army dur- 
ing British rule. 
A n ma K llatwaha , Ci08BAF0 



Avaitebie By FbM (iniand) 

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(104 Issues). 

An annual savlngof Rs 40 on the newsstand price 
Postage free 
Address your order to : 

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n 


WHO SAID? 

T his is w ilh rotVrtiK'o to 
your covor .'.lory dbout 
my work (St* v :iriLf tftr ti on - 
bleihindian, - 2M Novem- 
ber), 1 had never spnkoii to ' 
your eorrcspondenl .iboiit 
the evils of any specific iliugs 
m the course of niy intervu w 
with him. 

Dr Pnkash Kotfwri, Bornhay 
(Maharasirtra) 

indranil Hannerjie 
replies: Dr Kotbaii \- 
mistaken. In (act, he had 
urged me to H77re a special 
aiticle on these drugs and 
had even supplied me with 
published material for this 
purpose. 

WHY LEAVE us 
OUT? 

( appreciate your article on 
the public spools ( 77/e 
best and the brightest. 30 
August — 5 September). 
However, I was surprised to 
find that there was no men- 
tion of the Kajkumar College 
(RKC), Raipur, in your re- 
port. RKC has done a lot of 
go<xl work for the cause of 
Indian public schools. In 1939 
MrT.L/H. Smith. I he then 
princi|.)al of RKC, wa^ the 
moving spirit behind the 
fonnation of the Indian Public 
School Conference . the pa- 
rent body tliat governs the 
public schools in the country. 


4.S. Dhahkar, Prktdpal, 






INVISIBLE 

CANDIDATES 


Y our Statement that Wg 
Cdr Kakesh Shanna 
“was recently turned down 
by Air India for the {xisilion 
of a mere co-pilot even 
though hi.s colleague Ravish 
Malhotra was selected, ” is 
baseless (Sp{jtlifiht, 19 
April). None of the two air- 
force officers had applied for 
positions in Air India. 


W^CdrDM. Shanna, PWO (Air 
Forcel,'Mraetorata atPubSc 
tMaUona, MIntahyaiDmiancm, 
MewDaSB 


mamit lo-ia jMi«y imb 



Why I felt proud in PakSstan 


O ne went to Karachi for the maniaKe of 
Benazir Bhutto, and not to sniff about on 
the trail of Bihaiis in Orangi or bombs in 
superm^ets or heroin in the Frontier or 
K^shnikovs in homes. In fact, if an>thing. we 
consciously tried to avoid politics: there is a time 
and a place for that, and this clearly was not it. In 
any case, we were soon too caught up in the fiin 
of Benazir’s wedding to worry about anything 
else. It was all done with great style — ^but 
without the sickening opulence of some of our 
Indian industrialists or the reeking feuds^sm of 
some of the local ex-maharajahs who survived by 
toadying up to the British titled humbug even 
after 40 years of republican freedom. • It is not 
money that is the issue: Pakistan’s totally 
pro-rich system allows you to earn wealth 
perhaps even over a Birla’s means (and without 
the Birla's conunitment to industrialisation). And 
while Benazir or Asif Zardari may not be that 
wealthy, they have enough rich friends who 
would have put up as vulgar a show as you could 
ask if they had been just given such a direction. 
But the lack of excess was the essence of the 
taste on display in Karachi. The only excesses 
came from Bexiazur’s supporters, who came from 
all over the country to celebrate a great 
occasion, and sang and danced on the streets 
without bothering about which man in which 
imiform was watching. 

But while one may have not been searching 
for politics, any conversation tended inevitab^ 
to wander into that direction. And no subject was 
of greater interest to the Pakistanis than our 
experience in Sri Lanka. Both the interest and 
the criticism of what we had done extended 
across the political divide; whether he supported 
President Zia or Benazir Bhutto in his domestic 
affairs, the Pakistani seemed unanimously critic- 
al of what India had done in Sri Lanka. In 
retrospect, criticism is perhaps' not the right 
word. It was less critidsm, and more a common 
and very stroi^ desire to see the Indian move fo 
Sri Lanlm fail, to see the Indian army humiliated 
and defeated' there in its endeavour to brii)g 
peace. And so the same L’TTE which was once 
the butt of Pakistani anger was now being 
projected as a heroic organisation. One recalled 
the snide remarks that Pakistanis used to make 
whenever we broached the subject of Pak 
support to the secessionist elemi^mts in Puwb: 
how could Indians dare say that Pakistan was 
supporting the Khalistanis, wHhout^as much as a 
shred of evidence! And what this comii^ 
frrom a country which was actively 
finandng and supporting sdf-deckffe^ s^^esaion: 


vigp coniiiHuiigiii 

tollwtikoloNr 

abovtSitliik 


vfHoniltoftlift 
Larin); MdRim 


nricNtdiRMt 

Mtrivwlriia 

niqmiciMn 

aria 


a- -Ml- 

menya. ny 


Mbhillii 

■-J ■■ — 

Bmipniy ™ mMr 

it 

^ mtm iivt iw 


ists in Sri Lanka! I do not know about Others ’ 


at least I would admit that this glaring contradic- 
tion in our approach was one of the weak points 
in our argument. It was a great pleasure to find, 
consequently, that the roles were reversed this 
time. Now one could be as it were on the side of 
angels: Delhi was no longer protecting any 
secessionists; it had decided to end the anomaly 
of fighting Siich secessionism in the Punjab and 
promoting Tamil secessionism in Lanka. One 
could in a way appreciate the perplexity of the 
Pakistanis. The switch was a bit difficult for them 
to take. They had got so used to battering India 
as the evil big brother always tr^ng to break up 
its neif^bours, the groove of tlds approach had 
become so deep that it was virtually impossible 
to find another tack with which to attack Delhi. 
For here suddenly India was defending the unity 
and integrity of a neighbour, taking heavy losses 
in the process, pa^nng a huge price, and doing all 
of it on the invitation of one of the best fiiends 
Paldstan had in the region: President Junius 
Jayewardene. It is difficult to see straight when 
the world suddenly turns upside down. 

But of course there was an essential con- 
sistency in the Pakistani approach: their concern 
was not the present or future of Sri Lanka but 
the frite of India. As long as India could be 
defeated or weakened in the region their pur- 
pose would be served. Nothing illogical in that: 
they see India as a threat to their country and 
consequendy will only be pleased over any 
devek^ment which weakens India. They were 
extremely apprehensive over the possibility that 
Delhi mi^t actually get away with this gamble. I 
recall one conversation in particular in which 
both my Psikistani acquaintance and 1 became 
very frirk about real intentions as different from 
expressed ones or perceived ones. From the 
role of the Indian anny in Sri Lanka, the 
conversation almost inevitably self-steered to 
the role that the armies of India and Pakistan 
play in the two countries, and firnn there to the 
nature of popular support for the army- 
controlled government in Pakistan and how 
Pi^ab had become the mainstay of this regime 
and in turn influenced the division of power 
within the officer corps in the Pak army. It Was 
at that point that the gpat difference between 
our army and the Pakistan army struck me. 

Imademycase. I repeat it here, knowing that 
some of these things are not quite said. But this 
is how we see thii^, so just avoiding mention- 
ing them does not change the truth. 

Acceding to conventional wisdom in Pakistan, 
the Indian army should be suspect in two areas: 
in fts Sikh troops and Guricha troops. The impact 
of Operation Bhiestar on the Indian army is 


•ummv 10-16 Jmivyia 





Indian anwyman In 8rl tanka; eommltlad and diaelpllnad 

why they did not fall into communal or regional 
traps. The real point of what 1 was saying was 
that aU these decisions (to send Sikhs and 
Gurkhas and Tamils and Muslim generals) were 
made quite unconsciously. That was the true 
strength; the army had risen above the tensions 
we have inherited and become a true symbol of 
India and Indian unity. And one good reason why 
it had managed to rise to such a qualitatively 
different hei^t was because it had left politics to 
politicians. 

That was when 1 felt proud in l^akistan. 

There is enough to feel depressed about as 
one looks around. But there is also a great deal 
to feel impressed about. And most of all is the 
fact that this nation's army gives cause for pride 
for it is an army with its feet on the gpund, its 
fist tou^ned and alert» and its head Mgh. It tos 
no peptics because it has an ideology: a faith 
foshioned by the principles of the Indian Con- 
stitution. And it lives up to its moral commit- 
ments as much as its military ones. So leave 
aside the cynicism which has become the diet of 
our dass, set aside the masochism which makes 
us see nothing but wrong in our country, and 
look up with pride at an institution which has 
delivered. Offer a silent cheer for the Indian 
army. O 


hardly a secret; and it would hardly be very 
fv-fetched for any sensible Pakistani to assume 
that the Sikh jawan would not now give his best 
to the Indian cause, and certainly not fight in the 
way he fought in 1947 or 1965 or 1971. Perhaps 
the situation with the Gurkhas would not be as 
“bad" but after the troubles in Darjeeling, and 
the rise of the GNLF, once again it is plausible 
that disaffection might have seeped into the 
Gurkha units of the armed forces. 

Now, let us take the situation in Lanka: if you 
assume that Indian Tamils would be hesitant 
about fi^iting fellow-Tamils in Lanka, that the 
last people you would send across would be the 
Madras regiment, would it not? And yet: who is 
fighting in Sri Lanka? Sikhs, Gurkhas, Tamils, 
along with everyone else. The commanders 
have been Sikhs. And now we have given 
command of one of our most difficult operations 
to a Muslim commander Msy. Gen. Jamil 
Mahmud. 

That, I pointed out to my Pakistani friend, was 
the tfilference between his army and mme. 
Nationalism, a deep commitment to the iricolour 
above all else, was its sole rationale; and it was 
disciplined and professionaL It rose above caste 
and creed; it was not riven into a Puiqabi faction 
and a Urdu-speaking faction. Its commanders 
had faitfi in the mtearitv of their men. which is 


ThenwiiM 

MSMiiil 

COmiilillCjHIlM 

— i 

rMSIM 

fippnwchstlwhf 
conMniwHiioC 
flHpraiMlor 
lUiiiiiiian • 
UttolwUiiifili 

MbMlicoiMbi 

j — t — I — 

QifWwQOr 

vfMkfiMdhillif 

pHpoMWoiidkt 

MIMd 


•umAT ia-4f Jwwvy 



Anew instminent for 

m 


exem 




Gains T<ix. 




Jig 






1 













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GOeilpiw^^SfesSuR 


KHUSHWANT SINGH 


Worship of the Gai^ 


¥ \ I When anyone asks 

I • V me “What does In- 
/ - V to you?" I 

/ \ 80 over my life's 

I il involvements 

I before I 

one 

toing that evokes 
all that is Indian in 
me is the worship of the Ganga at the 
hour of sunset Evc^ time 1 watch the 
aarti at Har-Ki-Pauri something happens 
to me and 1 feel like one transfixed to the 
spot where 1 stand. Buried deep in my 
psyche are chords that stir to some 
elemental music. For me it is a five- 
minute-long spiritual orgasm." 

I am not Hindu; 1 am Sikh. I do not 
believe in God nor in any religion that 
professes to magnify God's glory. 1 do 
not believe that rivers are holy and that 
of them Ganga is the holiest of the holy. 

1 do not bathe in it in the hope that it vill 
wash away my sins. Nor subscribe to 
pseudo-scientific clap-trap of Ganga's 
waters having medicinal properties. 
Wliy then, I ask myself, does this pagan 
rite mean so much to me? 

To me Ganga is more than Ganga Mai 
to the Hindu. I come to it as a pilgrim 
bent on ancestor worship as did Allama 
Iqbal, scion of a Brahmin family turned 
Muslim: 

At aab-e-rood-e-Ganga, voh din hai 
yaad tujhko 

Utara terey kinarey tha kaarvaan 
hamaaraa? 

(Ye limpid waters of the Ganga, 
remember you the day 

When our caravan reached your banks 
and came to stay?) 

Hardwar welcomes the Ganga as it 
conies down the Himalayas to enter the 
plains. It should have been a much more 
beautiful place than it is. The temples 
that are strewn about the ghats have 
little to commend themselves as works 
of architecture. The Birla dock tower 
and the column on which the four 
Shankaracharyas are seated on the is- 
land between two streams of the river 
are absolute eyesores. The atmosphere 
about the ghats is as unholy as can be: a 
smog of commercialism is spread over 
evejTwhere. Every little temple has a 
parikrania of cash boxes for donation. 
Men stand waist deep in Qie river 
looking for gold or silver thrown with the 
ashes of the dead. For every pilgrim 
thme are two beggars. Paodas, puro~ 
post-card sellers pester you where- 



i lammtaHMiHlaiiiSiliikldo 
I notbeRtvehiGodiioriniiiy 


rd^flutprofeisMtoiiia^ 
God's giwy. ido not beSm tot 
rivonarahotyandthitoftoni 
Ganisistoholostol 
tohoiif.Bvttoone tiring 
totov^slthitiilnihn 
innwistoworitii|»oftoGMgi 
•ttotmir of sunset 


ver you go. Men with receipt books in 
their hands dog your footsteps. Try and 
dodge them and you will be run over by a 
cow. There are plenty of them— the 
most beautifol cows I have ever seea 

If you mean to experience the best 
there is in Hardwar, you have to take 
trading in religion in your stride. Ignore 
its rows of gauishly lit diops with their 
tawdry bric-a-brac and its many bbqfan 
bhantburs. Instead, move to the diade of 
the spreading branches of an ancient 
banyan tree. By its bole dt five ash- 
smeared sadhus round a gently 
smouldering fire. CMhm id gmja gpes 
round the kmg-bearded, matted-hdred 
senior to an incredibly handsome lad of 
16. He draws on his chiUum, sends two 
jets of smoke out of his nostrils and 
turns his gazelle-eyes in arrogant en- 
quiry about your business. The paeder- 
ast Babar would have taken him with bis 
loot to Kabul. 

The sun goes over the hill above 
Har-Kt-PkurL It » time to take your 


place by the river. I find mine behind a 
Bengali family. As the shades of twilight 
gath^ the pilgrims in their swathy 
embrace, one of the girls lights the <d 
lamps in a leaf boat— her hice glows as 
she reverentially places her offering on 
the fiist moving stream and watches it 
twinkling away downstream. What be- 
witching eyes these Bengali have! 
Soon dozens of leaf boats lit with oil lamp 
go bobbing up and down the stream. 
Across the river temple bells begin to 
Above the blowing of condi-shells 
rises the chant to Ganga Mata Maiyaa. 
"Anyone who meditates on thee gets his 
heart's wishes fulfilled. Victory to thee, 
O Mother Ganga!" 

Six priests bearing salvers of oil lamps 
descend the steps of Har-Ki-Pauri. They 
raise them above their heads and in a 
circular movement bring them down to 
touch the river and above their heads — 
again and again and again. It is a 
five-minute hypnotic trance induced by 
si^.t and sound. Then the lamps dis- 
appear inside; temple bells and conch- 
shells fall silent. A full moon shimmers 
over the Ganga as it wends its way to its 
sangam with the sea. You drag your feet 
away like one drugged. There are no 
words to explain the experience. It 
haunts you for the rest of your days. 


OUT OF THE MOUTHS 
OF BABES... 

A youngster was presented by the 
iefence to tender evidence about 
an incident. The prosecuting counsel 
suspected that the boy had been tutored 
and proceeded to cross-examine him. 

"Young man, has someone taught you 
what you should say in court?" 

"Yes sir, 1 have been fiiily coached 
about what I should say." 

The prosecuting counsel turned 
triumphantly to the magisU-ate and said, 
"Your honour, take note of the boy's 
admission that he has been tutored." 
Then he turned to the boy and pro- 
ceeded with the cross-examination: 
"Now teU the court who tutored you 
and exactly what you have been told to 
say." 

"Sir, it was my father who tutored 
me," replied the youngster very bright- 
ly. "He said that die government lawyer 
win keep barking at you like a dog. Don't 
get scared of him and tell the entire 
truth." o 


i Jimmy IM 





India’s Brown Revolution has some 
unrecognized champions leading it forward! 



“ riic niinihcr ol lU'w < htxohiC' 
IwsoJ prcKliicts on tht* inarkt l !i> 
iTiitly shows (hr }^iov\iii^ rli*in<inr! 
for Oocoa in India, whuh is ox- 
jxxUtI lodouhloby 

VVitli regular assistant' fioni 
(iadbuiv's, I’armei s liko iiu* will help 
meet this doinaiKl." 

It is i'arinois liko I homas 

wht) arc: iho rhainpions behind iho 
suet OSS ol' Cioooa cnllivaluin in 
India. (!o<o«i oiiipnt has Ik-oii ni’ 
CToasing stoadily tliio lo ihoir 
ongoing oifoils along widi constant 
help from (ladbiiry s. 

1965 — Cadbury’s 
pioneering vision 
takes shape 

I9f)r> inarkoci iho tinning point 
for (ItKoa in India, when Cladbury’s 
pioneered Caxoa (nhivaiion l>y im- 
|K)iting set'dlitigs, setting up an 80 
liectaic plantation at Wynad in 
KoiaLi and developing cultivation 
technk|U(‘s lo prove the feasibility of 
gi owing ( lot oa here. 

Over the next live years, Clad- 
bury s set up seedling nni series afid 
distribiut'd Tid lakh seedlini ‘ tiee of 
charge t(» fanners in poti nf; } 
C 4K ( >a-grt m ing areas. 


Let Mr. M.C. Thomas give you some new 
insights into how Cocoa cultivators plan to 
double their output in the next three years. 


Cadbury’s wins 
Indian Merchants’ 
Chamber Award 

fn 197.5, the Indian Merchants’ 
ClhamiK'i recognised C’adhnry’s 
pioneering /«ntl and effoiis in pitini- 
taing (ItKtia lultivatioii in India. 
The company was given an Award 
for its major role in intrtKiiit ing this 
siu cesstui new t rop to this count i \ . 

Cadbury’s 
commitment to the 
future of Cocoa 

(ladbury's Cax‘o;i Advisory Ser- 
vice pr<»vidcs fanners with seed- 
lings, fcT(ili/.ers and }xstk:ides. (lad- 
bury’s Cakoh Atlvisors travel all over 
the Otx’oa-growiiig arc‘as giving far- 
mers advice and a.ssistancc in all 
as|HTls of (locoa cultivation. 

S|)C<’ial (Itxoa Collection (lenttes 
have also lx*en set up lor the con- 
\enience of diese fanners. 

Extension of area 
under Cocoa 
cultivation 

The succ,css of (Icx'oa in KcTala, 
Karnataka and ramil Nadu has 
prompted farmers in neighlNiuring 
Andhi'a Pradesh lo take an interest 
in thi.s new' crcjp. And (’.adhury’s 
(kx'oa Advisory Service is already 
there extending its help and advice 
lo farmers in these areas as well. 


hury’s has long been involved in re- 
search. At its own plantation in 
Wynad, trials and exficriinents are 
cc»nductc'd to improve cultivation 
techniques. In addition, Cladbury’s 
in India has full access to rc^scarch 
done elsewhere in the world by 
( .adhiiry-Schweppcs. 

ClcMoa fat met s in India are ciirect 
Ix'iieficiaries of tlie knowledge 
gained from all this research, 
tinongh the inlbrination and advice 
ihev gel fiom (ladhiiry's (Icxoa 
Advisois. 

Now, ( ladhury s is funding a ma- 
jor long-term project at the (Icx’Oii 
kescMrclt (Icmtre at tlic! Kerala Agri- 
cultural L'niveisity. This prciject i.s 
aimed ett achiiwing higher pnaliic- 
tivity and improved bean cpiality, so 
that India can gear itself lo not only 
niei'i (he fonstantly increasing 
national demand for Cioc'cja, but 
c‘ven gel a share of the growing 
world market. 


(kuihury \ Twcwi AfIvLwty Servue ran 
Mfjyou know wot r about CtH‘oa. For 
flrlails, jUsSt mail the roulmn below. 



Please let me 
know more about 
Cocoa. 


Cadbuiy • Oicoft Adviaofy Senike 

Hindustan Ccxoa Products Uinited 
P.B.No.5,Chundale. 

Wynad District. Pin 675 123 

Name 


I 

Cadbury’s role in 
Cocoa research 


To fully explore the immense 
‘ i'for Ccxroa in India. Clad- 


I Address 




Hindustan Cocoa t«;J||dted 


— maken of Cadbury’s Chocolates and Beverages 


OBM/U 



I he events of 1987 have changed the 
temper of politics. 

Madiiu Limaye, veteran Opposition 
feader 

In 1987 we have not moved a single 
step forward from previous years. 

Michael Ferreira, former world bil- 
Hards champion 

Our commitment to sodaHsm is un- 
shakeaMe. 


Rajiv Gandhi, Prime Minister 


Ami 


1 1 a clerk of the Priine Minister 
that I have to refer every damn thing to 
him? lam a fun-fledged mmister in my 
own right. 

V.P. Singh, former defence nm^ier, on 
la^EiMotwilhoi^ 


I can't Only the Centre 
canfae^But thequesthm » whethd' 
theCei^ inhcKth^ 


i he Union government is not the first 
among the equals: ' f is the only govern- 
ment in the coun. that matters; state 
govemfhenth must shed archaic notions 
as that ours is a federal system. 

Ashok Mitka, economist and former 
West Bengal finance minister 

It is very sad that nobody Qn India) talks 
of policies any more and we are back to 
talking about personalties and scandals. 

IG. Patel, former Governor of Be- 
serve Bank of intSa and director of 
London School of Economics 

The ecoimmy is cf>tainly doing better 
than expected I thfek the economy has 
to some exteiit become drought-proof. 

R.N. M^hotra, Governor of Reserve 
Bankofln^ . , 

The moat rema^kaM thing (in the 
, dixHiflht-affBctedlaisaliiiertoivno^ 
jasttm) is ^ stench... the srnell (tf the 
dead cattle , 

A TRAVEUJSk.'qii 9 tedn The Ti^ 
Lootfeo 


I he Chinese have in their possession 
the territory that they want. We want it 
back. Why should the Chinese return it 
to us? For what gain? 

SiiBRAMANi AM SwAMV, Janata Party 
leader 

Mgk an be described as showing the 
way to Mr N/F. Rama Rao and, indeed. 
President Reagan. 

EdJI'OKIAL in THESrAmSMAN 

W hen Anna died, MGR was only the 
treasurer of the DMK, number four in 
our party. Now without MGR. as party 
propaganda secretaiy. lam number five. 

JaValali rHA Jayaram, AlADMK leader, 
quoted soon after the death of MGR 

Any girl who says she doesn't want to 
turn men on should go join the navy. 

KimiKatkak. Sbn actress 

I wffl only take on another man, never a 
lady. 

Ravi Shas-fri. Test crickets 


MiflAvia-isjwHiiftiii 


^11 





With the Jyoti Basu 
government launching a 
crackdown on the 
Gorkhalandagitationists 
in December, die militants 
are on the run. And die 
influence of Subash 
Ghisingh’s GNLFappecus 
to be on the wane 

12 


I n the evenings when the sun has 
set in a Maze of crimson behind 
the mountains, Daijeeling resem- 
bles a ^K>st town. The tension is 
palpable even in the biting Decem- 
ber cold as people sc^ home and 
shops begin to down their Otters from 
4.00 pm. After five, the beautiful queen 
fif hUl stations, which the British had 
once chosen as their summer resort, 
becomes a haunted place with not a soul 
in sight--exc<^ m course the gun- 
^ toting pplicef lien of the Central Reserve 
Police Force (CRPF) at strategic street 
iXXwA a compulsive smoker 


and have not remembered to buy your 
cigarettes, well, you will have to suffer 
from withdrawal symptoms for a night 
because, search as you may, there will 
not be a single shop open in the whole of 
Darjeeling. And if you dare to be out on 
the streets after dark, make sure you 
have a torch with you. Why? Because 
gentlemen carry torches, not GNLF 
men, runs the logic of the CRPF const- 
ables. 

The truth is that fear stalks the hills of 
strife-tom Darjeeling these days— 
rather nights. Fear of & activists c4 the 
Gorkha National Liberation Front 

mNDAY lO-ie JMiy 1981 




A CRPF |lWBn RMpi viyii III — 

(GNLF) who have stepped up their 
violence, mainly in the stealth of the 
night But the greater fear is that of the 
CRPF which has been inducted in large 
numbers by the hill administration to 
launch a fell-scale crackdown on the 
agitationists for a separate Goikhaland. 
Armed with the Anti-Terrorist Act 
which was reimposed on 17 Deceinber, 
the police are carrying out mteiiiiive 
midnight raids on GNLF hideouts. The 
GNLF activists finally seem to be on the 
run in the face of a determined adminis- 
tration, most of them having gone 
underground and some having crossed 




over into Nepal. The number of arrests 
in December crossed 200. with about 80 
booked under the Anti-Terrorist Act. 
Among the arrested are about 25 
Nepalese nationals who have been de- 
tained under the Foreigners Act. 

The more than two-year-old agitation ! 
for a Gorkhaland state which till some- 
time ago was tending to become a 
runaway horse, appears to have at last 
reached a decisive phase. As Debi 
Prasad Patro, the 33-year-old district 
magistrate of Daijeeling. emphasised, 
**This is our final chance to put down this 
violent agitation. If we do not act now, 
the problem will become too complex 
and intractable in the future." I'hus, 
while the man who has spearheaded the 
movement for the creation of Gorkha- 
land is cooling his heels in Delhi in the 
name of negotiations, there is a quiet 
war being fought in the Darjeeling hills. 

Such has been the intensity of the 
battle through the whole of December 
that the GNLF activists, in sheer de- 
speration. set fire to almost 150 govern- 
ment buildings or property, causing an 
estimated damage of more than Rs 5 
I crores in one month alone. Lost in the 
I spree of wanton arson is the picturesque 
Tourist Lodge on the famed Tiger Hill 
which was built in 1905 and renovated 
extensively three years ago. About a 
dozen GNLF militants, masked and 
armed, set the lodge on fire with petrol 
at 10.30 pm on 14 December. What 
remains where once stood a lovely 
mountain-top lodging house are black- 
ened debris and twisted metal girders. 

Fear stalks the hills 
of Darjeeling these 
days-rather nights. 
Fearofthecrack- 
down . The militants 
are on the run 


The loss: an estimated Rs 70 lakhs. 

Also lost for good are the invaluable 
manuscripts and records on Himalayan 
flora, dating back to 1857, prepared by 
the renowned British botanist and found- 
er of Darjeeling* J.D. Hooker. Th^ all 
went up in smoke when GNLF activists 
set fire to the office of the Lloyd's 
Botanical Garden on the night of 16 
December. As an old-timer in Darjeeling 
ruefully remarked, ''Even if they ever 
get Gorkhaland, it would be devoid of its 
best-known landmarks. " What prompted 
riiis comment is the strategy of the 
GNLF to destroy government property. 




B ut the hit^back by the administra- 
tion has been a determined and 
all-out one. To help it in its onslaught to 
bring ba^ the rule of law in the three hiO 
subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kalimpong 
and Kurseong are 13 companies of the 
CRPF, 11 companies of the Border 
Security Force (BSF) and 13 companies 
of the State Armed Police (SAP). And 
the more than 2,600 men belonging to 
the para-military forces have, without 
any doubt, been able to bring back fear 
of tte law in the hills. The day after the 
Anti-Terrorist Act was reinvoked for a 
month, the chief minister, Jyoti Basu, 
orderechthe Darjeeling administration to 
launch a crackdown and combing opera- 
tions. 

**We are fighting a dirty war," said 
R.K. Handa, the 45-year-old DIG of 
Darjeeling Range, quite reajvered from 
the bullet injuries he suffered on 10 
December during a murderous attack by 
some GNLP n^tants. *'lt is now or 
never — and it will be now, " he adds with 
steely determination. Handa is a feared 
man in the troubled hills: he is not a 
*Dirty Harry’ but the reputation of the 
tough cop has spread. And with good 
reason too: in the one year that he has 
been in Darjeeling, there have been 
ei^t attempts to liquidate him by the 
GNLF, but he has survived each time to 
put' further pressure on the agitationists. 

The second half of December witnes- 
sed relentless pressure from the para- 
military forces— -all of it coordinate by 
DM Patro and DIG Handa. And they 
have been ably backed up by determined 
and tough officers like the superinten- 
dent of police, Darjeeling, P.K. Sahay, 
ASP, Kurseong, R.K. Pachnanda, the 
two Darjeeling ASPs, G.M. Reddi and 
Rrq Kaimojia. The pressure has come 
mainly through' intensive patrolling and 
relentless ni^t-long raids to round up 
GNLF activists from their hideouts or 
homes. Early morning flushing out op- 
erations have also become a routine 
affair, like the one at Happy Valley Tea 
Estate in which one GNLF man was 
killed in an exchan^^ of fire with the 
police. What has given teeth to the 
police offensive is the Anti-Terrorist Act 
which enables the administration to keep 
behind bars anyone for up to a year 
without trial. And by end-December, 
more than 200 people had been 
arrest^. 

The latest offensive has been severe 
enough to send all GNLF militants and 
activists underground by the third week 
of December, including the leaders, 
barring the dozen or so who are camping 
in Delhi with Subash Ghisingh. On 
December, the GNLF headquarters l. 
Jalapahar, Daijeeling, which is also 
Ghisingn’s house, was raided. By the 



f 




(Ahova) TIgar Hill Tourist Lodga: loat In QNLF vantfallam; (balow) diatricl maglatrata D.P. 



I next morning all GNLF offices all over 
I the district were closed dowa The 
I GNLF activists were on the run, seek- 
' ing shelter underground or in nei^bour- 
ing Nepal in some cases. The only big 
gun to be nabbed is Mrs Indrakala 
Pradhan, secretary general of the Gor- 
kha National Women’s Organisation 
(GNWO)and wife of the GNLF’s Darjeel- 
ing unit general secretary, Rudra 
Pradhan, who is underground. Mrs 
Pradhan was largely responsible for 
preventing willing government em- 
ployees from enteri^ their offices dur- 
ing the indefinV.w strike called by the Hill 
Eindoyees Association, a frontal orga- 
the GNLF. 

In the road outside the 


Police Control Office which, ironicaUy, 
has been set up in the Rabindra Bhavan, 
presents an interest sight: scores of 
women waiting patiently. Only on in- 
quiry does one find out that they are 
waiting in the hope that their male fsunily 
meml^ may perhaps be released. (H 
course, some non-GNLF persons are 
also inadvertently rounded up in the 
night raids. Mrs Kanta Damal, 37, was 
waiting outside the Police Control 
Office. When asked, she said her hus- 
band had a tailoring shop in Chowk Bazar 
and belonged to the Congress party. He 
was asked by the CRPF men the 
previous night to direct them to a 
particular house. He came out of his 
house only to end up in the lock-up. 


14 


■UNDAV 10-ie JMIMV IBM 




The agitation for 
Gorkhaland appears 


to have reached 
a decisive phase. 

Says district 
magistrate D.P. 
Patro: *‘Thisisoiir 
final chance to put 
down this violent 
agitation” 


W hat was the turning point which 
has brou^t about this change in 
the administration’s attitude? According 
to district magistrate Patro, it was the 
grievous attack on DIG Handa near 
Maneybhanjang viilage on the India- 
Nepal border on 10 December. Narrat- 
ing the incident which nearly cost him his 
life, Handa said that, accompanied by SP 
Sahay and commanding officer, BSF, 
A.N. Ray, he had ^e to visit a BSF 
camp at Maneybhanjang. While return- 
ing, when the poli^ convoy was in 
Maneybhanjang market, the DIG 
noticed a young Nepali boy running 
frantically away. Handa’s jeep overtook 
the boy who, when asked, replied that 
he was fleeing apprehending trouble. On 

•UNMV 10-16 JVHHiy 1666 


SPECIAL REPORT 


being assured that there would be no 
trouble, the boy walked down the road 
and enter^ die house of a GNLF 
militant leader, Ctuten Sherpa. Handa 
and his men entered Sherpa’s house but 
found notiung suspicious. It was adnle 
they were leaving the marketplace that 
the police convoy was ambu^ied. The 
time was around 1.20 in the afternoon. 
The attack was sudden: GNLF militants 
opened fire from a hilltop, to be followed 
1^ a volley of shots from the opposite 
direction. Some 15 rounds were fired of 
which five hit Handa’s jeep. One buOet 
went through the jeep’s body and five 
shrapnels got lodg^ in Handa’s shoul- 
der, one almost six inches deep. The 
pellets were removed after an operation 
lasting three hours at a Siliguri nursing 
home. 

But why did he return to Darjeeling 
after about a week instead of going to 
Calcutta for recuperatkin? Hanib’s rep- 
ly: "’We are fitting a dirty war and my 
presence is necessary not only to boost 
the morale of the forces but also to 
convince the common people that 1 am 
again fit to carry on the fi^t. Thus, as 
soon as 1 learnt that a government 
helicopter had been made available for 
the administration, I decided to return to 
1 Darjeeling. ” Handa is convinced that the 
I ambush was the handiwork of Chiten 
j Sherpa*— “a hoodlum who controls this 
j border area,” as he describes him— who 


sturdy Land Rover which is hardly used 
these days, said: "All that the GNLF has 
done is to completely dry up tourist 
traffic and make it difficult for us to make 
ends meet. Earlier I used to make Rs 
250 a day after meeting fuel and other 
expenses. Today. 1 am lucky if 1 earn Rs 
40.” 

But the most telling comment came 
from the 19-year-old daughter of the 
Tourist Lodge manager whose family 
had lost all its belongings in the fire: "We 
are also Nepalis like them. Then why 
should they do this to us?” 

According to estimates prepared by 
the district administration, two years 
the Gorkhaland movement has resulted 
in a loss of Rs 60 crores to the people in 
terms of income from tourism; the tea 
industry has suffered a loss of almost Rs 
25 crores and there has been a Rs 
5-crore loss in income from forestry. 
Obviously the movement has bei^in to 
hurt where it hurts most: a proper 
living. While tourist traffic has virtusdly 
shrunk to zero— correspondents from 
Calcutta and elsewhere seem to be the 
only customers in the few hotels that are 
open— it has also resulted in a steep fall 
in business in the once-full shops on The 
Mall. A Marwari businesstr.an, who runs 
a woollen garments shop in Darjeeling’s 
shopping centre, pointed out that he had 
not brought in new stocks since 1986. 
His reason: "Business is down to 5 per 


is also involved in the murder of two 
cops. And he makes a telling point: 
Chiten Sherpa was in the 42-member 
delegation that Ghisingh led to Delhi in 
July 1987. And oi^ r previous day too, 
9 December, Handa and BSF’s Ray had 
been ambushed near Soureni Bazar in 
the Mirik area, but they escaped unhurt. 
P'or Handa it is a charmed life, it 
appears, but then fortune hivours the 
brave, as they say. 

What is significant is that the fervour 
among the Nepali-speaking masses in 
the \M district for a separate state of 
Gorkhaland is clearly on the wane. A 
shattered economy based on tourism 
and tea and a fruitless two-and-a-half- 
year-old agitation have taken their toO by 
way of a declining enthusiasm among the 
people. The reaiisatior is gradually 
dawning that a separate Gorkh^d is a 
wishful dream which may never become 
a reality. In private, many admit that it 
was perhaps wrong to have launched 
such a movement. The disenchantment 
is quite obvious. An attendant at the 
Tiger Hill Tourist Lodge, when asked if 
he wanted Gorkhaland, looked sadly at 
the charred debris and replied: 
difference does it make? We will have to 
earn .our bread and butter, whether in 
Gorkhaland or in Bengal.” And the 
driver who drove us to Tiger HiD in his 


cent of what it used to be before the 
agitation began. That does not even 
cover my establishment cost.” This is 
true of all business: the photography 
shops, the curio shops, restaurants and 
even the ponies who stand around lazily 
at The Mall. 

Another indication that people’s en- 
thusiasm for the movement is waning is 
that despite the widespread anests. 


DIG R.K. Handa: 
floating a dirty war 





r 


there has not been any mass protest or 
demonstrations. 'Fhere are only a hand- 
hit of women to be seen outside the 
Police Control Ofhce, waiting for the 
release of a husband, a brother or a son. 
And they blame the GNLF for their 
woes, and do not speak highly of the 
leaders who have gone into hiding. The 
signs cve clear: the GNLF leadership is 
losing its influence 0*1 the general mass 
of the Ncpali-speaking people.. The emo- 
tional conunitment to the cause of Gor- 
khaland is perhaps wavering. 

The district administration, too, is 
aware of the new feeling among the 
people, ^d one of the objectives of the 
cradcdown is to isolate the hardcore 
GNLF militants from the Nepali- 
speaking masses. The district ofifeials 
bdieve that the more these militants 
t^e recourse to violence, the more they 
would be isolated from the masses. The 
strategy, it seems, is paying off. 

I s the movement for Goiichaland then 
running out of steam? What is it that 
has brought about a change of mood 
among the Nepali-speaking masses of 
the Darjeeling hills? The answer, 
perhaps, lies in a leadership that is 
fragmented, a leadership that has mere- 
ly mouthed lofty promises. Subash Ghi- 
singh, the 51-year-o|d ex-serviceman- 
tumed-novelist, who has been leading 
the Gorkhaland movement for the past 
30 months, was the indisputed supremo 
of the GNLF. With slogans like “Beng^ 
is our graveyard" and “Guns may run 
out of bullets but the khukris are fore- 
ver", Ghisingh had fired the imagination 
of the Gorkhas and Nepalis. The people 
responded to Ghisingh's cry for a sepa- 
rate state: “Ghisingh is our leader, our 
hero. We will do and die at his bidding," 
they said. Ghisingh became the cause 
for the movement. 

The GNLF supremo made grandiose 
promises and his people believed him. 
He promised that if the Nepafi-speaking 
people had their own homeland, no one 
would be without a job, unlike under 
Bengali rule; all constables would be- 
come inspectors and all inspectors, 
police superintendents; that they could 
become owners of the tea gardens. 
Neighbouring Sikkim’s new-found 
prosperity as a result of the central 
government's munificence was the bug- 
bear for the NeiMs of Daijeelinp, Gld- 
singh assured his people that if ever 
Gorkhaland was created, they would be 
as i^osperous, if not more, than the 
Sikkimese. And he promised that Gor- 
khaland would become a reality by 
October 1987. 

For almost two years, the Nepalis of 
Darjeeling walked up Ghisingh’s garden 
path. The October deadline is long past 


For two years, the 
Nepalis of 
Darjeeling walked 
up Ghisingh’s 
garden path. But 
the promise of 
plenty is 
increasingly 
turning out to be a 
distant dream 


be named the Gorkhaland Hill Counefl 
and that Sfligw and parts of the Dooars 
be included in the counciL While the 
West Bengal government ruled out 
these demands, ofikaal drdes feel that 
Ghisingh blew his best chance when he 
retracted on his eariier ac^tance of the 
Hill Development Council proposaL • 
Madan Tamang, secretary-general of 
the Pranta Parishad, which was the frst 
party to raise the cry for Goildialand 
only to be completely overshadowed 
the GNLF, has known Ghisingh welL 
Says he: “Ghisingh is inaeasingly show- 
ing signs of an unstable and indecisive 
mind. Besides, he has no right to settle 
for a Hill Council when he had pronused 


and the promise of plenty is increasingly 
turning out to be a distant dream and the 
garden path a thorny one. Ghismgh's 
image has come down a peg or two: his 
people are today wondering why he is 
negotiating for a Hill Council when they 
! had shed blood for a separate homeland. 


Reprisd, 
CRPF style? 


T he history of Darjeeling may one day 
well say that Ghisingh fiddled in 
Delhi while the hills burned. Privately, 
many Nepalis in Darjeeling are querying 
as to why their leader should be cooling 
, his heels in the capital when Darjeeling is 
going through unprecedented violence in 
December. But. then, Ghisingh is an 
enigma of sorts, to say the least. As 
district magistrate Patro points outs, 

; “Ghisingh is a moderate and a militant at 
I the same time. " He goes to the negotiat- 
ing table in Delhi, but, curiously, every 
time he is away from Daijeeling there's 
widespread violence in die hills. Political 
observers feel that this lime, too, 
Ghibingh has decided to play the only 
card he can play well— violence. Accord- 
ing to Patro. during the raid on the 
GNLF licadquarters, incriminating docu- 
ments. including some signed by 
Ghisingh, were found which lend cre- 
dence to the belief that the present spurt 
in GNLF violence was pre-planned. 

And how does one deal wi^ a person 
like Ghisingh who is always shif^ his 
stand, asks an exasperate Patro. Sub- 
ash G^ingh's habit of constantly chai^- 
i^ his position has led to the negotia- 
tions coming to a halt at fi:equent 
intervals. On 22 July, 1987, Ghisingh led 
a massive 42-member GNLF delegation 
to Delhi where Union home nunister 
Buta Singh offered him a large of 
autonomy for the hill areas by setting up 
a Hill Devefofanent CounciL After a[ 
further round of talks with Buta Singh in 
August, Ghisingh ia reported to have 
jigreed to tlip ,>iX)6po8aI a Hill De- 
CoundL By September he 
back on his acceptmee and 
up two that the council 


T he Central Reserve Police Force 
(CRPFO has earned for itself the 
reputation of being an effective 
machinery when the government 
wants to flex its muscles. But, at 
times, its ways can be brutal, as the 
people of Maneybhanjang have learnt 
to their nuaftntune. 

Maneybhanjang was till recently a 
sleepy village of 2,000 people on the 
ln&-N^ border, 25 km finxn Dar- 
jeeling town. Today, it is a scene of 
total devastation: 64 buildings com- 
pletely burnt down and another 60- 
odd wooden huts razed to the 
ground. And amidst the blackened 
^hiis of the houses can be seen the 
charred remains of eifi^ Tata tnicks 
and seven Land Rovm which were 
owned by local businessmen and 
transport operators. All shops were 



16 


Pho to graphe: Ashok M^jurndw 




GoiUialand." Herein lies the rub: Ghi- 
siqgh is seemingly not the supremo he 
was. If he appears to be badctiacking, it 
is because pressures from the various 
frontal organisations of the GNLF and 
groups within. The protracted agitation 
has thrown up quite a few leaders in 
different areas in the district. If C.K. 
Pradhan is the strongman in Kalimpong, 
then Rudra Pracfiian is the boss in 
Darjeeling, while Hema Lama and Indra- 
kala Pracflian dictate terms to the highly- 
motivated GNWO. And people like R.R 
Waiba and Chiten Sherpa c^ the shots 
among the militants in the border areas. 
Ghisi^ is no more in absolute control 
and the movement has gone into the 


hands of some 2000-odd hardcore mili- 
tants and lumpens. It is learnt that many 
of these leaders have warned Ghisingh 
that if he signs the Hill Council agree- 
ment, it would not be bind&ng on theno. 
Winch, perhaps, puts Ghisin^ in a bind. 

B e that as It may, the "dirty war" 
that is raging in Darjeeling has 
thrown up some fisconcerting trends: 
signsof insurgency and links with Nepal 
While GNLF militants carrM out about 
ten ambushes on the para-military forces 
in December alone, there has been an 
increasing use of remote control detona- 
tors and sophisticated grenades— a sure 
sign of insurgency. But, explains P.K. 


looted and then set on fire. 

It all happened on the morning of 
14 December. All the 162 families 
have since taken shelter in the neigh- 
bouring village in Nepal which is also 
called Maneybhanjang. In fact, nine 
houses were set ablase on the 
Nepalese side of the border too. 

Who perpetrated this vandalism 
which has totally destroyed this vil- 
lage? The district administration says 
it is the handiwork of GNLF activ- 
ists. Motive: to discredit the admi- 
nistration. 

But talk to the villagers, and to the 
last man and woman they will vouch 
that their village was razed to the 
ground by CRPF jawans. Reason: 
reprisal for the murderous attack on 
th^ boss, DIG R.K. Hands. For it 
was in Maneybhanjang that Handa 
was seriously wounM in an ambush 
only four days previously. Kumar 


Chhetri, headmaster of the local 
sdiool Doijee Phinjee, a tnidr driv- 
er, Msdbesh Pradhan, who had a radio 
sl^, Mrs Manomaya Tamang— 
they all have the same story to teB. 
At around 11 am, some 150 CRPF 
men came in trucks and in a systema- 
tic orgy of arson, laid the entire 
village to waste. The opmtion 
lasted till 3 pm. They also cfafan that 
money and jewellery were looted 
from many houses before they were 
set on fire. 


It is quite difficult not to believe so 
many peoide who have lost their afl 
and are livmg as refugees in Nepal 
At times they mill around their burnt 
homes, but so scared are they now 
of the CRPF Jawans that they scam- 


per to the Nepal sf ie the moment 
they see a CRPF r uck drive into 
Maneybhaqjang. 



Sahay, SP, Darjeeling, "It is true that 
the terrain is suitable for ambushing 
poto convoys. Our movements are 
visible to the militants whereas we can’t 
see where they are hiding. To that 
extent our task is more difficult. But 
large-scale insurgency will be difficult 
here." But why is it so? DM Patro 
elaborates: “Full-scale insurgency re- 
quire economically self-sustaining in- 
tractable areas like in the north-east, but 
Darjeeling is not so. Secondly, Nepd is 
not in a position to harbour extremists 
on a scale Pakistanor Bangladesh can." 

Yet there is no gainsaying the fact that 
the GNLF has been receiving assistance 
from Nepal. According to sijite intelli- 
gence sources, there are reports of 
GNLF activists receiving guerrilla train- 
ing inside Nepal’s territory. Besides, 
GNLF militants are known to take 
reiiige inside Nepalese territory, any- 
where along the 45-km border, after 
cairying out their operations. In fact, 
R.P. Waiba and Chiten Sherpa are at 
present said to be in hiding in Nepal 
I While reports have been received of 
I financial help from Nepal to the move- 
. ment, it is now known that Ghisingh has 
I links with Randhir Singh Subba who was 
! at one time Nepal's foreign minister and 
I is now an MP. Intelligence officials are at 
I present also probing reports of King 
' Birendra’s younger brother. Prince 
Gyanendra’s involvement with the 
GNLF. The prince is familiar with Dar- 
‘ jeeling as he had been a student of St 
! Joseph's College. North Point, 
j The district administration has also 
I received reports of certain sections of 
the GNLF activists having links with 
Nagaland insurgent groups as well as the 
' Santosh Rana Nax^te faction in the 
Dooars. For instance, B.B. Guning, the 
GNLF vice-president, who has joined 
Ghisingh in Delhi has quite an interest- 
ing background: he has at one time lived 
in Quetta in Pakistan, spent many years 
in Nagaland and has also at some time or 
; the odier stayed in Tibet and Kathman- 
; du, where his sister reportedly runs a 
school 

But for the present, the strategy of 
the district administration is to restore 
democracy in the hills of Darjiling. As 
Patro puts it: “Strong adi^strative 
measures alone may not solve the Ck>r- 
khaland problem, but they will help in 
finding out a durable political sotution." 
The implication is dean the GNLF 
should not be allowed to talk from a 
position of strength as it has been afl 
along. There is also the possibility that if 
the GNLF is tamed and the violmice 
controlled, Ghisingh may not remain the 
sole arbiter of Dacjeelii^s Nepalis. 



17 


GUEST COLUMN, 

RANJIT GUPTA 


Ghjsii^ mu^ t oBasu 


The Centre must not meddle with the Gorkhaland problem 


I t appears that the GNLF is no longer a small 
united group of Gorkhas in Darjeeling agitating 
for a hill council onijr, it has expanded consider- 
ably with a lon^ tad of extremists. The lead- 
ership is yet sobedieaded and moderate; they 
stin Wish to sit down for a talk with Delhi. But 
they are dearly under pressure and have been 
misii^ their polH^ demands with Subash 
Ghisingh follow^ in order to lead. Therefore, 
the earlier claim for a certain measure of 
autonomy in the hill administration, for a greater 
degree of local self-government, has now esca- 
lated to a demand for a new state of “Gorkha- 
land'*. The chum for Gorkha governance ex- 
panded to indude sizeable parts of the Dc)oars 
and the non-hiUy part of the district— Siligiin. 
Through a narrow corridor of the Bhutan Terai, 
a Gorl^ ethnic strip cuts across the Assam 
Valley to Meghalaya and Nagaland, llierefore, 
the Gorkhatod cry may well be a dangerous 
Baikanising force in the sensitive areas of east 
and north-east India. 

It is the level of Ghisingh*s demand that 
prevents him from sitting down to a discussion 
with Jyoti Basu about a settlement in Daijeeling. 
Even if he insists on inclusion of certain parts of 
the Dooars for a hill council with a certain 
autonomy, his initial talks should be with the 
state government. But his insistence on a parley 
with the central government gives away his 
game; the GNLF has now as its sole aim nothing 
less than the creation of the state of “Gorkha- 
land”. In this matter, their position is identical 
with that of the “Khalistanis”: the creation of a 
separate ethnic state presumably within the 
framework of the country’s Constitution. 

Needless to say that neither the claim of 
“Khalistan” nor that of Gorkhaland is accept- 
able to the country. The Baikanising trend'whkh 
Pandit Nehru started in the country in 1956 has 
gone to the farthest extreme; one or two steps 
more, and the integrity of India will be in grave 
peril. The Government of India has already 
involved itself outside the country in Jaffna; and 
politically, the Punjab problem still remains 
unsolved. It will therefore be unwise to take on 
its hands the Daijeeling problem as well. It is 
appropriate that Ghisingh and his advisers should 
sit down with Jyotibabu and his colleagues. 

A more serious development is in si^t From 
Maneybhanjang to Simana, it is (jfiffiqilt to 
distinguish buha from Nepal. Confused reports 
suggest that some elements from within Nepal 
are trying to help the GNLF. That is not 
strange; the Gotkhas of Daijeding Safer gnd 
Kurseong subdivisions are only the ovarsp|li,^ 
the uncontrolled population of Rai-Lin4«is of' 
Limbuwan, the eastern part of Nepal. Should 


SitahGhiiingh 

1 1.1-*^- -■*- 

Mumngniii' 

ihoiMb* 


backtoWiit 


toaiMsIingvilIh 

IheiMi 

(ovamiMiitfof 


All ^ 11 ^ 

gwIuVuNIlM nB 

iBMst roriiiB ttw 

ti la Mim i 

lllillQipOBililB 

for lilt NM 


urattocmlta 

GoridMlind 



vIMI IranVIBi 

Jji^BaovihoiN 

ICCBpillIBnCI 

thstViBGoiMiii 
bI Dnjtilni hivB 
IwMtraiMii 


— ■ 
CIIIIMIII 

•IhirfudMiAi 


Gotkhaland come into being, then a little of the 
*Madia-Nepal' dream, cherisl^ by some Nepali 
expansionists, would have been achieved. What 
is worK is the report that houses on the Nepal 
border have been burnt and homeless Gorkhas 
have taken shelter inside the Nepal frontier. 
Who burnt the houses? Miscreants or the Indian 
po^? One hopes, in handling these disturb- 
ances in the hills, the Indian authorities would 
keep their head and handle the situation firmly, 
yet wisely. At this juncture, the presence of the 
IG, CRP, B. K. Saha, who has had deep 
experience of policing Daqeeling, will be of great 
advantage to the administration. At the same 
time, our ambassador in Kathmandu should 
persuade the fiiendly Nepal government to 
exercise restraint so as not to aggravate the 
problem further 

Subash Ghisingh and his fnends should be 
realistic, come back to West Bengal, and agree 
to a meeting with the state government for an 
honourable settlement. For he must realise that 
it is not politically possible for the Delhi govern- 
ment to agree to Gorkhaland . 'Fhc Himalayas 
are Alpine geologically; if a vital rock is removed, 
the consequences may spread and reverberate 
over a large area. Here, this kind of geology 
applies to the politics of the region as well. And 
wlnle discussing these matters in depth with 
Ghisingh and his followers, Jyoti Basu should 
appreciate the fact that the Gorkhas of Darjeel- 
ing have been treated as second-class citizens in 
India. If one goes through the corridors of clerks 
in Writers’ Buildings, would one sec a single 
Gorkha face? Or in the New Secretariat? Or in 
the merdiant offices around? The people of 
Daijeelingp one would be unhappy to note, have 
been us^ in the hills and the Dooars as tea 
pluckers, porters, hewers of wood and drawers 
^ water. Down in India, they are the loyd 
securitymen, police constables or durwans. This 
situation should be changed by Jyoti Basu, who 
has a deep understanding of poUtics. Also, the 
policy of meeting force by force will not work; in 
the hills, force should be met by policy. Spedal 
reservations in engineeriiig and medical col- 
leges, induction of Gorkhas in larger numbers in 
the IPS and IAS and other services will help. It 
will help to create in the hiD a strong middle 
class — which we do not have now. At this 
moment a middle class-based CPI(M) in West 
Bengal is at loggerheads with the (uroletariat- 
based GNLF. This cannot help in puttii^ out the 
fire in the hills. Police action can only br^ about 
a cosmetic change; what is needed now is a deep 
political therapy. 

WGsl S6nQil 


18 


•IMSAV t»-ie Jmiy 



M.he dayreturm and brings us the mua! round of duties 
and concerns; h^f us to perform wdtatwehave to do with 
smiling faces; let cheerhiin^s abound with industry; give us to go 
blithely on our business all the day and bring us to our resting beds, 
weary and content, and undishonoured and 
grant us in the end die giA of sleep**. 



R.I^. Stcvenscni wrorc this simple, touching, prayer 
which helps us clearly see how we shoiilc^ view our 
business. We are not a flashy company, \i d never will be. 

'rhis is to say thank you to our people — a very’ high 
calibre of people " and their commitment in making 
liatliboi what it is today. 

At Bacliboi, we’re people first, engineers later. 
People who bring enthusiasm and cheer into jobs with a 
breath of professionalism. We do our best, every single 
day. And we’ve been doing this for almost a century'. 
Because we value your relationship as our customer. 
Because at (he end of the day, we’d like you to go home 
with that w'arm peaeeful feeling: of dealing with an 
engineering company that considers certain things 
precious, among them: ^Peace of mind^ 


I B ATUBOl I the engineers* en^eers Machine I ools 

Industrial & Material I landling Equipment 
Envirunmcntal Knf;incerinf; 

Agricultural Kquipment 
Aiaxmditioning & Refrigeration 


Project Engineering 



ft 41 /^ t^ 

fA^luih-. ft ¥/M Wt 




fJiACC. lie/iC iH/M Oi^tu 


if^ Ulci> 


Sapphi 



('()\’KKS1'()KV THE 

GOVERNMENT 
THAT DOES NOT 
WORK 


After a year of scandals, drought and defeat, Rajiv 
Gandhi is saddled with a government snagged by 


discord and non-performance 



M 23 Indira Gandhi de- 
scribed her government 
as one that works, how 
would you describe 
yours? That was the 
question an interviewer asked R^jiv 
Gandhi shortly after he was elected 
Prime Minister. “Why. a government 
that \^orks faster," he replied with a 
grin. Today, the grin has be'^ome a 
grimace. As a year of scandals, drought 
and defeat gave way to a grey winter 
over New Delhi, a chill seeped into 
government offices, into North Block 
and the Prime Minister's inner sanctum. 
For, the dead year. 1987, left a cold 
legacy: a government that cannot pre- 
tend it works. 

For the beleaguered Pnme Minister, 
1987 was an endless strode to be. To 
do became secondary. Rajiv Gandlii had 
been given a mandate for change, and he 
had responded to the iiialleiige by 
forming an agenda promising to take the 
country away from internal dissension, 
economic stagnation and political bank- 
ruptcy, and into the 21st century. But by 
the end of 1987, the agenda was forgot- 
ten. And yesterday’s hero had become 
today’s villain. If the people had wanted 
change in continuity, they saw no 
change— and continuity only of corrup- 
tion. 

"1987 saw the Prime Minister frozen 
on the tracks of change and on the 
retreat," remarked Dr Bhabani Sengup- 
ta of the Centre for Policy Research. 
And most others concurred. A conunon 
feeling, summed up most b^y by DMK 
MP N. V.N. Somu in Parliament was: "If 
you take stock of the situation and ask 
the question what has he {Rajiv Gandhi) j 
achieved during his tenure of three 
years, 1 am sorry to say, the answer is a 
big zero." 

While the govemrnent'saduevementa 
migA not exactly amount to a big zero, 
but measured against what the Priite 
Minister had set out to do, the record is 
m the negatfee. The economy bad gixim 
at an anmial rate of five per cent duri^ 
the first two years , of Rajiv Gandhi’s 
regime, exports were booming, power 
generation had consistently surg^by an 
annual 10 per cent, the superpowers 
were beginning to aco^t hm’a hege- 
monic role in Saith Asia, and the Prime 


Minister did exhibit a readiness to admit 
his government’s failure in certain areas 
and to tackle these problems head on. 
Yet, by the end of the third year of his 
term, the Prime Minister seemed to be 
running out of ideas, increasingly resort- 
ing to cliched ihetoric on the Indian form 
of sodafism, and reiterating problems 
for which he seemed to have no 
answers. And the problems kept piling 
up. The spurt in industrial activity aided 
by import relaxations petered out, the 
drought high-lighted the medieval char- 
acter of Indian agriculture, the various 
arms of government acted more out of 
tune with each other and government 
policies inaeasingly blurred with com- 
promise. 



was decidedly in the red. In every major 
area— -from ffis liberalisation programme 
to party aftairs— the Prime Minister had 
to retreat from his initial posinons. 

1987 witnessed: 

• The collapse of a national consensus 
on the Prime Minister’s polides and 
programmes. 

• 'Fhe continued disintegration of the 
Congress(I). 

• A slowdown in and gradual reversal of 
liberalisation programmes. 

• Mishandling of government finances. 

• The government’s inability to douse 
divisive fires in Daijeel^, Meghalaya 
and Puiyab; and the continued existence 



Congms (I) iMst- tlw party Is evtr 


True, the Prime Minister had his 
hands fell with the century’s worst 
drought ravaging the Incfian countryside, 
with scandals, with the threat of dismis- 
sal from a dfetempered President and a 
coup from within the party. But Rajiv 
Gandhi did not sink. The pomt is, he 
could not rise above all that either. He 
had frightened the bureaucracy, kept out 
politicians from major gbvenmiental de- 
cisions, alienated Oppmtxxi-niled state 
governments and tarnished Ms credibil- 
ity with the common people— the very 
group with which he h^ once claimed to 
have a direct rapport The Prime Minis- 
ter’s balance sheet at the end of 1987 


of communal flashpoints in Uttar 
Pradesh, Gqjarat and lifeharashtra. 

• The Indian army mired in an unpopu- 
lar dvil war in Sri Lanka. 

• The Prime Minister’s feihire to build 
credibility and a world view as guides to 
policy. 

The Rsyiv GandM government’s re- 
cord in 1987 was, predictably, a sym- 
phony of discord, failed promises and 
non-performance. 

T he Prime Minister began the year in 
a sanguine mood, declaring there 
was no need to tede^ economic 
des since the present ones were well 


aUNMVHK-ISJmryllM 


Colour pH o i ogrwhi Vivok Oas 


23 



Rajiv Gandhi had been given a mandate for change, 
and he had promised to take the nation away from 
internal dissension, economic stagnation and 
political bankruptcy. But by the end of 1987, the 
agenda was forgotten 


defined and working well. All that the 
economy needed was “fine tuning” and 
“tailoring” of present policies, ^d he 
promised to push the administration to 
speejl up implementation. But since the 
very first month of 1987, the decision- 
making process be^ exhibiting signs of 
deceleration. Cabinet decisions piled 
up— one Cabinet committee on econo- 
mic affairs was saddled with a whopping 
80 items on its agenda by mid-January 
this year because the P^e Minister 
could not find time to dispose of them 
earlier. Routine appointments to critical 
posts were held up — the Supreme Court 
even today is without 10 of its 26 judges 
and High Courts are still waiting for 50 
judges. 

The increasing foul-ups were partly 
the result of Rajiv Gandhi's insistence on 
running the government from his own 
office manned by 418 handpicked offi- 
cials. This secretariat during 1987 be- 
came die focal point of government — a 
super centre of the central government 
Several ministers, chief among them 
K.C. Pant (defence), began referring 
most major decisions to the PM’s secre- 
tariat. Appointments, transfers, major 
work orders and policy decisions were 
inevitably held up in the secretariat, 
which was routinely deluged by files. 
The Prime Minister, his press adviser, 
Sharada Prasad, once admitted, re- 
ceived an incredible 300 files a day. A 
debilitating bottleneck was inevitable. 

The hardest hit was the process of 
project clearance and financial approval. 
Examples are legion: the Steel Authority 
of India (SAIL) could not start im- 
plementing its billion-rupee modernisa- 
tion plans for its ailing Durgapur and 
Burnpur steel plants; the railways con- 
tinued to waver on its ambitious com- 
puterisation plan; R.P. Goenka's Haldia 
petrochemical project was held up inde- 
finitely as the finance ministry could not 
make up its mind on the financing 
pattern; a Birla-Soviet offer for building 
a power plant has been hanging fire for 
almost two years now; the government 
remains in a dilemma over whether to 
• allow Indian companies to go in for new 
automobile production; Tisco's mod; 
ernisation pl^s have been held up: die 
industries ‘minist^ seems helpless in 
enforcing phased indigenisation of indus- 


tries still relying on screwdriver technol- 
ogy; and the fobulous pre-election aid 
packages offered by the Prime Minister 
to Haryana, Kerala and West Bengal 
largely remain mythical promises. Tlie 
growing frustration over such delays 
was reflected in November when 
Opposition parliamentarians staged a 
walk-out frpm the Lok Sabha to protest 
central non I’esponseon files relating to 
scores of critic^ projects in their states. 
Later, West Bengal chief minister Jyoti 
Basu, who is fast emerging as one of 
Rajiv Gandhi's most articulate critics, 
remarked: “I don't find any government 
working in Delhi now.” 

When the central government's mul- 
tifarious departments did work, they 
often worked at cross-purposes or else 
with quixotic zeal. A couple of months 
ago, just when the domestic fertiliser 
industry was complaining of a sharp fail 


in fertiliser offtake and resultant glut in 
supplies, the ministry of chemicals and 
fertilisers received a request from a 
member of the Prime Minister's secre- 
tariat to import 700 tonnes of fertiliser 
from a particular company. When one of 
the concerned ministers protested, he 
was told that the finance and commerce 
ministries had already cleared the deci- 
sion and that he must comply. The 
minister ultimately compromised by im- 
porting 200 tonnes— a move that was 
immediately condemned by Indian ferti- 
liser manufacturers. 

In another more recent move, the 
finance ministry changed excise rates on 
cotton and synthetic textiles in a manner 
that served to make cheap cloth more 
expensive and upmarket textiles cheap- 
er. When this strange decision was 
protested, the finance ministry quickly 


changed the rates once again, but main- 

jnrda at Parllamant Houaa: g o va m mant on llio dafanalva 




Rajiv Gandhi’s government succumbed to what, 
Milton Friedman once termed, "the tyranny of the 
status quo”. The bureaucracy succeeded in diluting 
economic liberalisation programmes, propping up 
the public sector and clamping down on imports 


tabled the burden on cotton textile 
producers. Result: desperate cotton 
textile manufacturers, already hit by a 
shrinking market, closed down 10 lakh 
powerlooms in western India for a day's 
token protest on 17 December. At the 
same time, dismayed synthetic textile- 
makers wondered what the government 
was up to: on the one hand, it was 
encouraging investment in synthetic 
fibre production and, on the other, it was 
hiking excise duty and cutting demand. 

right hand of the government 
does not know what the left is douig," 
explained a senior biureaucrat, referring 
to several instances of complete confu- 
sion in different government depart 
ments. In October this year, tea expor- 
ters complained that they were not 
being paid excise rebates totalling sever- 
al crores of rupees; although the Union 
finance mmistry had issued a notification 



that an excise rebate of 50 paise per kilo 
of tea exported would be allowed with 
effect from 9 September, 1986, the 
collectorate of excise in Calcutta had not 
been informed of any change. The tea 
exporters were still receiving show- 
cause notices instead of the refimd even 
though they were referring to the fi- 
nance ministry's notification. 

A former anns trading company, 
which now operates as an import-export 
house, signed a Rs 72-crore deal with 
the Soviets for supplying sea-^ing tuf^ 
and barges. At the same time, this 
company extracted an import clearance 
from the commerce ministry to allow the 
import of these tugs and barges from 
Singapore. The commerce ministry 
appeared to be unaware of the govern- | 
ment stipulation that disallows this kind | 
of switch trade. For, the vessels are i 
being acquired in hard currency and sold 
to the Russians for roubles. According 
to existing stipulations, such exports can 
be allowed only if a mbibnum 50 per cent 
value is added by the Indian supplier. 

In October last year, a Cabinet com- 
mittee headed by *he Prune Minister 
had approved a f. ^licy package that 
aOowed mdustry to import capit^ goods 
not produced ui the country without 
paying the required 85 per cent customs 
duty. For such imports, the policy 
decreed that customs duty could be 
charged at a maximum rate of 25 per 
cent. But the finance mbiistry scotched 
the higher-level decision by the simple 
expedient of sitting on the relevant files. 

I uch of the current confusion and, 
disappobitment among economic 
laissez-fakeists stem from the govern- 
ment’s realisation that economic liber- 
alisation as origbiallv postulated by Rajiv 
Gandhi could be dangerous. Although 
the Union Cabbiet, after its brief sojourn 
at the Sariska game sanctuary, returned 
with renewed pledges to contbme with 
its policy framewo^ the government’s 
retreat from fiberalisation had begun 
from early 1987. The government’s 
ongbial policy regarding economic liber- 



industrialists wanting to comer licences 
and letters of intent; the second was to 
prescribe minimum sizes for industries 
.so as to avail economies of scale and to 
bring down production costs; while the 
third was to induct latest technology 
through foreign collaborations. 'The 
idea was to introduce competitiveness in 
the Indian economy, to make it global in 
size and technology," says Mehta. Im- 
port of capital gixids and technology was 
made freer in the hope that this sector of 
the economy would modernise and be- 
come globally competitive. 

Today, the mood in North Block is 
gloomier. It is a chastened finance 
ministry that has once again fallen back 
to judgmg cases on their individual 
merits, scrutinismg proposals to deter- 
mine what effect it will have cm employ- 
ment and existing industries. Dr Bimal 
Jalan, the liard-headcd chief economic 

Parllamtnt Hail: moody bluaa 




aMsatkm aa emindated in the 1985 
budget, FlCCl executive committee 
member Karan Sbigh Mehta explabis, 
rested on three major pbuto: the first 
was to end the licenaing ny that served 



The outgoing, confident young Prime Minister 
turned middle-aged, aloof and increasingly erratic. 
Attempts to rectify lopsided policies came as 
knee-jerk reactions to criticisms 
about being elitist 


The peripatetic Prime Mini 

Rajiv Gandhi travelled frequently but largely unsuccessftdly in 1987 


R ^iv Gandhi is easily the most 
travelled Indian. During 1987, 
he visited over 60 different places in 
the country and abroad. Travelling 
by his spedal Air Force Boeing, by 
heficopter and by jeep, the Prime 
Minister covered several thousand 
'hflometres chiefly in the north-east. 
West, Betted. Kerslar Orissa add 
'Riyasthan. Apart from attending 
. eteetkm meetings, public rallies and 
official fimetions, he had to be on the 
move to intervene in party disputes, 
to bolster the sagging morale of his 
fiUthflils and to ensure that dissidents 
were not seduced by the Opposition. 
The result was a peripatetic Prime 
Minister who was often not available 
. for ki^rtant ministry meetings and 
for signing the numerous fite in- 
creas^y being tluust upon him. If 
he achieved httle^in government 
during 1987, heacKieved even less in 
his peregrinations. His travel diary: 

Amdamaiis: Ksiiv Gandhi be^ 
his year after hofidaying in the tropic- 
al isles of the Andungns. And that 
began a year of controversy and 
scandal. He was aitidsed for takbig 
anientire entourage of Itattans along 
. 'with superstar Amkabh Bschchan to 
holiday at government eigiense. Offi« 
dais later disclosed that several lakh 
rupees had to be spmt to prepare 
hdipi^ and dr-conditioned bunga- 
. lows in the mdst remote of island^ 
Several Indian Navy V^ssds stood on 
alert while, the Priniie Minister re- 
laxed with friends. - 
In Janu^, R^iv 'also visited 
Shantiiilketan. Lucknow and 
Kerala. . The Prime Minister 
announceda Rs dlS-imre "aid pack- 
age** -for Kerala that, was later to 
boomerang into an electaral de&at 
far the (^ngressfO in that state. 

Darjeeling hosted Rdiv Ganm 
on 7 February but the local 
offered sullen greetings since ilieV 


were not be^ granted .statehood. 

Miioram^ where the Prime 
Minister spent a couple of days in 
election campaigning, was another 
disappomtment and the Congreas(l) 
received a drubbing from Laldenga'a 
Mizo Natkmal Front 
The Prime Minister was itinerant 
*Toir most of March, campaigning ex- 
tensively in Kerala Std West Bengd. 
The CongressG) was defeated in 
both states by Marxists and a de-. 
Jilted Prime Minister only attended 
a few official ftihetions— in Banga^ 
lore, Neyvefi and Kamal—duxing 
the remainder of March. 

April was a politically tense month 
because otV\P, Singh's resignation 
from the Uiikm Cabinet and the 
Prime Minister barely found time ta 
inaugurate a bridge in Xespur, 


.By the beriming of May, Giaiii 
Zail Sin^. h^ joined the battle 
against a bdeaguered R^iv Ganffiii, 
who could not leave behind .his trou- 
bles even while on tour. <On ,1 May, 
at Salem, the Prime Minister lashed 
out at the "destabilising forces’* 
attempting to' give new kitoiTreta- 


PM wHh Rmgaii 


26 



tkms to the Constitution. In the same 
month, he visited Kottayam (Kera- 
la), and Meerut where the embers 
of communal fires were still gfowing. 

June was a month of drought, and 
the. Prime Minister launched bis 
hig^y-publidsed programmes for 
visiting drought-^hit areas to check bn 
rdief work. He visited Rajasthan 
and Gujarat during this time, apart 
firom a few other places for official 


July’s travels began with a trip to 
Moscow where Gandhi and 
Mikhail Gorbachev inaugi^ted the 
Festival of India in the Soviet Union. 
Later that month, the Prime Minis- 
ter expelled dissidents Arun Nehru, 
V.P. Singh and company from the 
Congress(I), After Giani Zail Singh’s 
threat tur^ out to be a damp squib 
with the official Coqgress(l) candi- 
date, R. Venkataraman, being 
elect^ President, a happier R^}iv 
Gandhi promptly shot off to Sri 
Lanka and signed an accord with 
Jayewardene and the Tamil militants. 

August saw the Prime Minister 
travelling to Uttar Pradesh and 
Tamil Nadu to deliver speeches 
agunst the evil, designs of internal 
and extenrat forces bent upon 
weakemng the nation. • 
ki September, the Prime Minister, 
travelled to' see droufikt-sffected 
Ganjam district in Grissa, amojsg 
othtf places. But the Prime Minis- 
ter’s scrutiny of drought in Orissa 
was not particulariy incisive. For,. 
Orissa ddef minrater J.B. Patnaik. 
admftted lat^. (on 19 October) that 
the Prime! pflu^ter. had; driven 
tkouidh ,thp grali^R, areas of .the Sfeta 
and dudd m Mve,!seen the Worst 
' ^wecC8< qt ' uie' arouignt.'.'. 

longest- snd most" 
sneonsful .tour wn his 12 to 
.Qcteber tilp'jo.Vmcninnr 
: New Yeel^ WaailiiiiiowlljC 

•UNIMV jamitfy ifl 



The public sector was constantly told to $tart 
performing. Yet, the Prime Minister did not spell out 
any solutions. Routine appointments of public sector 
chiefs were held up and CAG complained that 
several units were fudging accounts 




Tokyo. At Vancouver, he was 
hoard seriously by the Common- 
wealth heads of state and at 
Washington D.C., President Ronald 
Rea^ took time off to have a 
spB^ meeting with Rajiv Gandlii, 
aithongh sev^ other heads of 
states and high offkaals were waiting 
to meet Reagan. 

The Prime Minister's next foreign 
tour—to Kathmandu for the SAARC 
summit— was somewhat less fruitful 
But in the same month (November), 
he stepped up his travelling, visiting 
Agar^, Hyderabad, Farakka, 
Latur (Maharashtra) and Naga- 
land. November offered the 
itinerant Gandhi a bonus in the form 
of the Congress(I)*s first and only 
victory in state elections: in Naga- 
land. 

The last month of 1987 appe^ to 
be a month of almost constant travel 
for Rajiv Gandhi. He began the 
month by visiting the Nagaland capit- 
al, Kohima, to make a victory 
speech. His last foreign visit— to 
Rangoon in Burma— was the least 
successful with the Burmese govern- 
ment rebuffing Rajiv (}andhi's re- 
quest to join the South Asian Federa- 
tion. Thereafter,, the Prime Minister 
stopped over at Kerala and on 18 
and 19 December convened the con- 
troversial cabinet meet at Rajas- 
than’s Sgriska tiger sanctuary. 

The year was a hectic one and the 
Prime Minister Intends to take a 
break in Lakshwadeep, off the 
.coast of Kerala. Unfortunately, 
however, the Prime Minister might 
end 1987 and begin 1988 with a 
c^troversy siiiiflar to the one over 
his Aiulaniai^ holiday. For, Rajiv 
' GandhFs detractors are hollering Sty- 
out the iaidia of rupees the govern- 
msDt ynXi have to spend to provide 
to and Ids tonirage aocommoda- 
and otto -frdidea, including 
V^iphisg ytor. year of drought 
at a when the Prime 
; toist^ hihiSblf4k Urging everyone 
. td' ffghto th^ bdtsi the Lak- 

^.^Opppsiti^ mill ■ " 


Public icclor ttosl plwrt: eontinuwl drain 

import of capital goods might have had a 
negative impact on domestic capital 
go^s sector but fv ds that the 1987 
budget decision to raise the customs 
duty on equipment for fresh projects 
from 50 to 85 per cent heralded the shift 
from capital goods imports to domestic 
procurement. 

The very fact that the ^veniment is 
being forced to modify its policies is 
proof that Rajiv Gandhi's original plans 
for the eqpnomy are not working out 
FlCCl's Mehta points out that the mod- 
ernisation of some key industries has 
ground to a halt because of the govern- 
ment's retreat from liberalisation. Finan- 
cial institutions have, for instance, been 
refusing to give loans lor setting up new 
textile yam spinning mills on the ground 
that the coun^ already has adequate 
spinning capacity. "But, in fact, half the 
spinning rx^ls in fills country are old, 
inefficient and sick, and the quality of 
Indian yam is generally poor," says 
Mehta. In 1986-87 Indk could export 
only Rs 1,256 crores worth of ready- 
made garments^s against more than 
Rs 2,000 crores by Hong Kong— chiefly 
because of the npn-availability of good 
quality knot-lehs yam. "And unless we 
have new spinning mills we will not be 


able to increase our garments exports 
and we will keep subsidising the ineffie- 
cent spinning mills," says he. 

Rajiv Gandhi's government has, by all 
accounts, succumbed to, what Milton 
Friedman once tenned. “the tyranny of 
the status quo". The central policy on 
steel is a case in point. Two years ago, 
SAIL chairman V. Krishnamurthy bad 
declared that Indian steel prices were 
too high and promised higher productiv- 
ity to absorb costs. Now that SAIL has 
chalked up losses of Rs 244 crores in the 
first eight monfiis of 1987-88. the gov- 
ernment has hiked steel prices by 15 per 
cent and in the meantime lias stopped 
issuing licences for the setting up of the 
more cost-effective integrated sponge 
iron plants in the private sector. 

Bureaucrats today justify the rethink- 
ing on economic policy on the grounds 
that the initial years of liberalisation had 
led to some of the worst excesses. 
Instead of preparing a base for new 
industry and technology as was done in 
the late 1950s and early 1960s when 
India acquired the capability to build 
foctories, automobiles, power stations, 
steel mills, ships and locomotives. Rajiv 
Gandhi's modernisation programme be- 
came synonymous with liberalised im- 


kv 10*16 JiAMfvra 




The 21st century’ became a moth-eaten cliche. Even 
the Prime Minister appeared defensive on the 
subject. At the end of 1987, he said: **When I talked 
about the 21st century, I was not talking about the 
machines. I was talking of the mind” 


ports. Colour TV sets, personal compu- 
ters, rayon plants and cars were im- 
ported in a dissembled condition and put 
together for the market. Import sub- 
stitution was passe and the buzzword 
was the 21st century. It couldn't last for 
ever. And when India's import bill 
climbed out of sight, the government 
was compelled to push the panic button. 
That was early 1987. And by all portents 
the government's finger will stay on the 
button in 1988. 

The free marketeers, who lauded and j 
shaped Rajiv Gandhi's laissez-faire poli- 
cies in the first two years of his rule, 
today admit that they have lost out— but 
for reasons entirely different from those 
generally touted. Liberalisation h la Ra- 
jiv, the free marketeers insist, was 
working but was deliberately sabotaged 
by bureaucrats operating in connivance 
with industrialists who evaded the dis- 
mantling of protective controls and the 
licensing raj. The trade deficit, they 
argu^, was merely an excuse for clamp- 
ing down on libe^satioa In the short 
run, relaxation of controls was expected 
to lead to a sharp rise in imports, 
followed by a lagged but sharp resurg- 
ence of the export sector. And this is 
precisely what appears to have hap- 
pened. Since last year exports have 
been growing dramatically: 16.7 per 
cent in 1987-88 and an incredible 26.5 
per cent in the first seven months of tins 
financial year. The growth of imports, in 
contrast, declined to 12.6 per cent this 
year. Industrial growth, too, has been.a 
healthy 8.8 per cent during the first two 
years of R^hr Gandhi's rule. 

The free marketeers attribute their 
exit to a few basic mistakes committed 
by the Prime Minister. Chief among 
them was the inability to appreciate the 
insidious power of the bur^ucracy and 
its inherent bias against any fonn of 
liberalisation that erodes its, comman- 
ding power. The bureaucracy appears to 
have scuttled a number of key proposals 
that would have both helped the eco- 
nomy and won friends for the Prime 
Minister. A part of the liberalisatian 
agenda was to allow the private sector to 
enter areas like thermal power genera- 
tion, hi^way operations and telecoms' 
municatioos, which were hitherto die 
I sole preserve of the public sector. 


Bureaucrats did not openly reject these 
proposals but worked subtly to ensure 
that they were never implemented. 

The private sector was invited for 
building and running highways but was 
not offered the most profitable routes. 
What it was offered was under terms 
that dissuaded even the most enthusias- 
tic. Bureaucrats finally stymied the pri- 
vate sector aspirants by ruling that bank 
finance could not be offered to the 
private sector for such projects. The 
private sector was kept out of power 
generation through a similar expedient. 
Another excellent plan to allow a private 
company to set up a high-cost, exclusive 
business subscribers* telecommunica- 
tion network was initially lauded by the 


Post and Telegraph department and 
then quietly buried. Now the P&T 
department has mooted a similar ser- 
vice — scaled down from about a lakh 
connections to just 5,000 for the entire 
country. 

Of late, the trend seems to be: what 
the Prime Minister proposes, the 
bureaucracy and business lobby dispose. 
Says the secretary of the Consumer 
Hnity and Trust Society, Pradeep 
Mehta: “The government passed a 
dynamic consumer protection Act this 
year, the likes of which do not exist even 
in the West.” Under this new law, not 
just private corporations, but the public 
sector and the government itself can be 
sued by consumers. Predictably, this 




1987 saw the Prime Minister frozen on the tracks of change and 
on the retreat. If government departments did work, they 
often worked at complete cross purposes or else with 
quixotic zeal .The government shied from making 
any structural change in the economy 




enactment remains on paper while 
Mehta, who has petitioned the Supreme 
Court to expedite its implementation, 
fears that “the chambers of commerce 
and the public sector are conspiring to 
delay, if not scuttle this new law" 

A nother victory for the old guard 
bureaucracy is the Prime Minister's 
acceptance of the public sector as the 
cutting edge of the economy. Today, 
Rajiv Gandhi is not merely saddled with 
a government that doesn’t work but with 
a vast non-performing public sector as 
well. During the first heady months of 
coming to power, Rajiv Gandhi had 
adopted a tough line on the public 
sector, berating its inefficiency and 


tendency to drain scarce government 
resources. 'Hie public sector must be- 
come commercially viable, the young 
Prime Minister had initially proclaimed. 
The tough pronouncements at the end of 
three years of Rajiv Gandhi’s rule have 
not had the slightest impact on the 
phlegmatic public sector. If anything, the 
public sector is gobbling more re- 
sources — the government has invested 
Rs 36,000 crores in the public sector 
during the past three years, quadrupling 
total investment in this sector from Rs 
21,000 crores in 1980-81 to an expected 
Rs 83.500 crores at the end of this 
financial year. 

The returns from this mammoth sec- 
tors in contrast, have been patlietic, and 



thrown the entire Seventh Plan (1985- 
90) arithmetic out of joint. In the first 
three years of the Plan— which inciden- 
tally coincide with the first three years of 
Rajiv Gandhi’s rule —the public sector 
(central and state) was to have gener- 
ated Rs 49,725 crores for the central 
exchequer. Instead, it will barely man- 
age to fork out 40 per cent of that 
amount, llie problem, in retrospect, 
appears that the Prime Minister’s ex- 
pectations of the public sector were not 
backed by any new thinking. Of late, the 
government has been thinking even 
less— and has not bothered to appoint 
chief executives for 24 headless public 
sector wonders, including giant Orga- 
nisations such as BHEL (assets Rs 244 
crores), NTPC (Rs 4,520 crores), Hin- 
dusthan Paper Corporation (Rs 723 
crores) and the State Trading Corpora- 
tion (Rs 15 crores). I1iat the public 
sector is out of control was reflected in a 
recent CAG (Comptroller and Auditor- 
general of India) report which pointed 
out that several public sector units were 
fud^ng their accounts. The Prime 
Minister in his last 1987 speech in the 
Lok Sabha, however, reiterated: “We 
have kept the public sector at the 
commanding heights of our economy and 
that is where it is going to stay.’’ 

In the same vein, in his last public 
speech before retiring to Lakshwadeep, 
the Prime Minister repeated that it was 
of utmost importance “to rethink our 
systems of management in the public 
sector to improve its efficiency and 
financial viability’’. This was the 
umpteenth time that the Prime Minister 
had harped on public sector inefficiency 
and yet he seems to have forgotten his 
assurance made in July last year that the 
government would soon publish a White 
P^per spelling out “policy relevant to 
building a strong public sector in the 
country”. The exhortations to perform 
continued but there was no sign of the 
promised White Paper or solutions. 

The government might have muddled 
through, using cosmetic statistics to 
cover the ugly blemishes of its non- 
performance, but the facade fell through 
once the drought began eating into 
government finances. All of a sudden it 
apparent that the government had 
tried to cut comers in managing its cash 

J5S 29 


Rajiv Gandhi had wanted to make Indian industry 
global in size and technology. But instead of creating 
a base for new industry and technology^ 

Rajiv Gandhi’s modernisation programme became 
synonymous with liberalised imports 


and was now cornered as badly as a bank 
with a run on its money. At the end of 
1987, it was dear that the Prime Minis- 
ter would not be able to keep his budget 
promises, of maintaining the defidt at the 
projected Rs 5,868 crores and curbing 
non-productive expenditure. The budget 
defidt by mid-December 1987 was 
already touching Rs 8,637 crores and 
Prime Minister Gandhi candidly admit- 
ted to Parliament: "The fact is that there 
his been total unaccountability on finan- 
cial spending in this country, whether in 
the Centre or in the states. The cost of 
admMstration, the cost of implementing 
our programmes is too high..." Here 
was the Prime Minister in effect admit- 
ting his fedlure, and insinuating that 
runaway government expenditure was 


not necessarily due to drought relief 
work. 

The Centre's spending on drought 
relief would, as a matter of hct, not 
amount to more than a few hundred 
crores. The biggest chunks of additional 
expenditure are in other areas. The 
Indan Peace Keeping Force QPKF) in 
Sri Lanka, according to offidal estimates 
costs the Exchequer Rs 3 crores a day, 
or Rs 90 crores a month. The Reserve 
Bank of India (RBI) points out that the 
three biggest components of rising non- 
plan expenditure are defence, subsidies 
and debt servicing. Under Rqjiv Gandhi, 
the defence budget has almost doubled 
from Rs 6,661 crores in 1984-85 to Rs 
12,512 crores in 1987-88. And the 
Ccmtre, like a profligate housekeeper 


anticipating an unrealistic level of in- 
come, has been spending beyond its 
means. To keep its cash flow going, the 
government has been borrowing heavily 
from commercial banks. Now the Centre 
is mired in an internal debt trap and must 
keep borrowing to maintain its level of 
spending and pay back old loans. 

The government had set a defidt 
financing target of Rs 14,000 crores for 
the Seventh Five Year Plan period, a 
marketing borrowing target of Rs 
30,562^ crores, and had planned to raise 
additional resources to the tune of Rs 
8,250 crores through taxes, railway 
fares and administered price hikes. With 
expenditure going through the ceiling in 
the first three years of the plan alone, 
the government has squeezed Rs 23,000 


llel|iii«11ie 

oonupt 


T he Cratral Vigilance Commission 
(CVC), the apex body looking 
into cases of corruption involving 
pu^c Mivants, takes the aedit for 
tbe sharp increase in the number of 
complaints ccrtning the commission's 
way in' the fot three years. In its 
latest annual report, the CVC sug- 
gests thet this could be "a pointer to 
th^ fret that the commission is being 
intreadngly perceived as an indepen- 
dent and efiEective institution which 
would follow up allegations and en- 
^sure punishipent to ^faulters". But 
.S' more realistic— and less optimistic 
infe^ce, is that the figures quoted 
in the report are actually a pointer to 
the rising corruption in the oorrUlors 
of iwwer— in key government de- 
partments, in msKv public sector 
undertakings, in insurance com- 
panies and In nationalised banks. 

The figures speak for themselves: 
There were 2056 cases in 1980 and 
2044 cases in 1983. However, there 
has been a sharp upswing since 
1983; ^ in '84, 2956 in '85 and 
' 3146 in !86. The commisskm^ . 
particular, has been taking a seriQjiis^<>5 


note of the misconduct at senior 
leveb. During 1986, penalties 
were imposed On 94 officers foDoyr* 
ing the oommission'siKivice^ Among 
the officers w^ were found guflty ^ 
misconduct and corruption was an 
ambassador ^^hose p^ion was re- 
duced, a joint director pf the. Oil 4nd 
Natural Gas Commission (ONGC) 
who was tfismissed from service, a 
deputy chief enguiper w^ the i&- 
dustan Fertilizer Corporation who 
was also removed from service and a 
former chairman and mamuiuig direc- 
tor of a nationalised ^hank agsinst 
whom prosecution was laiindied. 
But by the commission’s own admis- 
sion, these figutes^are ^.fraction of 
the total quantum of mekn^actices in 
the government ' ; , 

Vigilance is obviously , low bn the 
list of priorities of the government. 
The ceimnissicm’s r^iw Observes 
that there Is a considerable delay in 
investigation of ooinpWnts by |^v- 
emment depahinentk. and organisa- 
tions. OnSdar^. jtjieinviwtigBtibn of 
'a complaint , mold 1^ 
wiQdn she months. But in 
587 comphinU of 

. ductinvotvii^ pifofic senate, wIM' 
had been receiii^ by'lte vigilanoe 
ccmntiwdon'ipg^^^^^ the 

^ ilhad nm been oemip!^ 


within the ^sfat-mbnth period. Of 
^tese,>'investigEito reports on U6 
complaints weriir pending for more 
thm three years arid reports on 206 
complaints were'pending for periods 
ranging between one and three 
years. In the Delhi Development 
Authority, for instance, 11 such com- 
plaints are pending with the depart- 
na^ntal viiakrice ^t fpr over, three 
yem and hi the cm of the DeU 
admimstration,. the huniber bf com- 
pl^ts pending investigation for over 
three years ih 29. * ‘ 


Take for mstance an flhistrative.' 
case of delay <bn part of/ ^ 
authorities . in v'processing vigbmee . 
matters, On the .basto of a complaint 
t^ved by the Ceidral VigBance' , 
.Commission against' ^rtaifi senior ^ 
officers of . 

Elepuicals Uimtetpf 'a t^bet 
sought by the Mninission 
dfrief vtailaim dS£er, j 

Marrii, 1985. 4rWPoiri on 
was made ayaQabm^tb tiie/^ 
sion onh^afforjitoca'tt^ jl 
kid . Ok « 



30 


•UNMV 10-10 INI 


The P^e Minister displayed a singular inability to 
win friends and influence people. He did not forge a 
new coalition from among those who stood to gain 
from his new policies. Instead, he developed a highly 
personalised style of government 




crores from the money market and 
intends to wring at least Rs 10,236 
crores of additk^ resources from the 
economy in the plan period. The de6dt 
financing target has simiiarly been ex- | 
ceeded by Rs 4,400 crores. And now, : 
with the drought, the PHD Chambers of 
Commerce in a detailed analysis esti- 
mates that the government will have to 
pump an additional Rs 10,000 crores into 
the economy to keep it ticking at a 
steady rate. 

With R^iv Gandhi’s government pro- 
ving to be anything but a paragon of 
financial virtue, 1987 closed with a | 
serious credibility question lomnii^ over 
the Prime Minister. For. in his last 
budget speech, the Prime Minister had 
pressed: '’Some hard choices have to 


heq^e report on the charges' level- 
led,. BHEL’s response is still awa* 
[ted In view of such cases, the 
mstructions issued by the Bur^ of 
PUbKc Enterprises (BPE) iii October 
1986, becomes a serious matter. 
The instructions said that in future 
: vigilance cases of only bond level 
ai^tees of public sector enter- 
prises need tp be referred to the 
Ci^fral. VigOance Conkpisskm fer 
, a^vfre. fe respect of j^ipoiiitees 
^ b<^ fevel, reference 

The ^^n^^s^ 
Vfei^ rbe BPS’S decision l& liiiiit its 
:• pubfid sei^ 

9 |s V which 

V to a big Kt-back .in 

' 6^ priMem (tf 

: jgim sed<^ «u«feitaldh^ One of 
' ^ hnportant for setting up 
^ ^ oomivfoh 1K99 .to ebsuce that 
ooiinjptm of an 



be made to keep our expenditure within 
our means. There is no room for waste, 
ostentation or unproductive expendi- 
ture.” The Centre came down harder on 
state governments, berating them for 
financial indiscipline and stopping RBI 
payments to Kerala in December. Ra- 
jiv’s detractors countered by turning the 
spotlights on the unabashed Congress(I) 
loan meks, the Prime Minister’s holi- 
days in Andamans and Lakshwadeep, 
the expenses of Apna Utsav, the liquor 
bill of one Cabinet minister and the 
Sariska cabinet meet. 

The most disturbing trend in 1987, 
according to some analysts, is the return 
of double digit inflation. Even the Prime 
Minister adbinitted as much. “Past ex- 
perience shows that nothing alienates 
poor voters from the rulers than a 
sustained rise in prices,” says Bhabani 
Sengupta. With iidlation at an estimated 
13 per cent—and expected to get worse 
once the effects of the current drought 
show up in the first half of 1988>-Rajiv 
Gandhi’s government faces a bigger 
political threat than V P. Singh and the 
Opposition combinf ^ 

T he political working of the Rajiv 
Gan^ government in 1978 was 
snagged by scandals he could not scotch, 
by betrayals that forced him to turn to 
old waihorses like Uma Shankar Dikshit 
and by electoral defeats that further 
isolated him. By the end of the year he 
was hitting back at his critics— Ramnath 
Goenka, V.P. Singh and the Opposi- 
tion— but remained beleaguered. The 
outgoing, confident, young Prime Minis- 
ter had turned middle-aged, aloof and 
increasingly eriabc. “Let me say cate- 
gorically,” he lashed out in his last 1987 
speech to the Lok Sabha, “that this 
^vemment was elected for five years, 
this government will remain for five 
years. We do not get shaken or uncom- 
fortable by street marches and con- 
claves and contrived campaigns or 
cabals.” 

But why the street marches, the 
oondaves and campsdgns against Rqjiv 
Gimdhi? What had ^ne wrong? Why 
was yesterday’s pofitical hero today’s 
villain? The root of the problem appears 
to be I^v Gandlu’s singular inali^ty to 
win political frieiub and influence pec^e 


Mjron Weiner, a scholar of Indian 
politics from the Massachusetts Insti- 
tute of Technology, writing in early 
1987, commented that Rajiv Gandhi was 
in danger of becoming politically iso- 
lated. For, argued Weiner, “A optical 
leader initiating new policies needs to 
buOd a team with which hd‘ can work, and 
he needs to forge a new coalition from 
among those who will gain from his new 
policies.” Gandhi, unfortunately, did 
neither, interpreting his victory as a 
triumph of non-politics over politics. 
Perhaps believing that results, and not 
politics, mattered, he developed a highly 
I personalised style of government oper- 
ating, through a handfiil of picked 
bureaucrats. when the crunch came 
in the form of the Bofors and other 



stock Exchange: and of tht good UiMt 

scandals, all fingers inevitably pointed to 
him. Nobody blamed the defence minis- 
try or suggested that any other politician 
but Rajiv Gandhi could have taken the 
bribes from Bofors. Not a single mem- 
ber of the Prime Minister's Cabinet 
stood up even once to defend him at the 
height of the crisis. 

Throughout 1987, the Prime Minister 
alienated section after section of poten- 
tial friends, llie first casualty was the 
bureaucracy. The break came during a 
nationally televised press conference 
this January! when the Prime Minister 
publicly sacked veteran diplomat and 
foreign secretary A.P. Venkateswaran. 
In the same month, the Prime Minister 
had humiliated two other senior 
bureaucrats D. Bandyopadhyay, rural 




31 




The Congress-I party apparatus fell into greater 
disrepair. Rajiv Gandhi after accusing the party of 
being stuffed with power brokers and dalals did 
nothing to rejuvenate it. Rajiv Gandhi went back 
to relying on old warhorses like Uma Shankar Dikshit 



development secretary and C.S. Sastry, 
agriculture secretary. Several other 
senior bureaucrats have been snubbed, 
chastised and at times transferred. The 
latest was the case of Ved Marwah, the 
Delhi police chief, who was first shunted 
out from his post and then reinstated. 
No small wander that the bureaucracy 
did all it could to prang the Prime 
Minister’s policies. 

Kajiv Gandhi kept out politicians by 
activating his personal secretariat, the 
members of which became the govern- 
ment’s new masters. Bureaucrats 
marked as PM secretariat appointees 
began usurping ministerial powers. In- 
formation minister, Ajit Panja, for inst- 
ance, complained in Parliament that 
Doordarshan director Bhaskar Ghosh, 
had not informed him about changing the 
timings for the Parliament Review prog- 
ranune. Insiders in the information and 
broadcasting ministry explain tliat Panja 
rarely confronts Ghosh, who is known to 
liave powerful friends in the Prime 
Minister's secretariat. Ghosh has often 
countermanded the minister’s orders: 
he stalled the re-organisation of Uoor- 
darshan staff and cancelled the transfer 
of one official ordered out by the 
minister. 

The Congress(l) party apparatus fell 
into greater disrepair, riddM with dissi- 
dence and discontent. 'Fhe Prime Minis- 
ter, after accusing the party of being 
stuffed with power brokers and dalals, 
did nothing to rejuvenate it. Party elec- 
tions could not be held because Con- 
gress(l) leaders had filled the party 
membership lists with bogus members. 
And at the end of the year, the Prime 
Minister tried to rouse the party by 
promising party elections again and get- 
ting Uma Shankar Dikshit to work out a 
new formula for membership and voting. 
The moribund Young Congress(I) got a 
new president in the form of Gurudas 
Kamat, MP, whose aides promptly com- 
plained that the party high command was 
adamant in imposing office-bearers of its 
choice instead of allowing Kamat to form 
his own team. 

While the Congress(l) party la^ 
guished throughout 1987, electioLo in 
West Bengal, Kerala, Mizoram and 
Haryana proved that the electorate pre- 
ferred the Opposition wherever it could 

32 


provide a workable alternative to the 
Congress(I). As the Prime Minister's 
inability to prove himself an election 
winner grew, the coterie of ambitious 
politicians within the government — 
some like former President Giani Zail 
Singh, whom the l^rime Minister had 
rubbed the wrong way— decided to 
stage a coup from within. The conspira- 
cy failed. But the result was the emerg- 
ence of V. P. Singh as a powerful Opposi- 
tion personality. At the same time, he 
had alienated both the Indian left and the 
right. 'Fhe right threatens to erode 
Congress(l) bases in parts of the Hindi 
heartland, while the left, too, flexed its 
muscles against the government by 


organising the most impressive public 
rally to be held in New Delhi in 1987. 

Alone and desperately in need of 
friends, the Prime Minister kept staving 
oft the much-needed revamping of state 
party units, and reshuffling of ministers. 
When he did make changes, they were 
often ludicrous. Instead of bringing back 
really powerful local chiefs, the Prime 
Minister brought in people like Ram 
Rattan Ram and decrepit advisers like 
Dikshit and Kamalapathi Tripathi. The 
Prime Minister built cabals but not the 
consensus he needed to rule effectively. 

llie Prime Minister’s real failure, 
some critics believe, was not so much 
the inability to implement programmes 





The Prime Minister survived 1987 in spite of himself. 
His ultimate safety net was the Congress(I) majority 
in Parliament. But the brief historic^ moment the 



Prime Minister had for implementing his agenda for 
change had passed 





but rather his policies which contained 
inherent contradictions that doomed 
them from inception. For, Rsyiv Gandhi 
never had any ideology or world view, 
llis perceptions were essentially middle- 
class. He believed in simple thbigs, like 
modem cars, telecom and computers 
and could not accept the symbols of 
tradition and backwardness penneating 
the Indian landscape. But pragmatism 
could never be a substitute for a world 
view and an insight into the worldngs of 
the Indian societal organism. 

Rajiv Gandhi's approach to divisive 
movements, one of his advisers ex- 
plained. was to tackle the problems head 
on instead of allowing them to linger. He 



crores for the same i^riod. When the 
government started being accused of not 
playing the white man and scattering the 
largesse around, the rural development 
outlay was promptly jacked up— Rs 
2.050 crores being earmarked for the 
current financial year. 

T he Prime Minister survived 1987 in 
spite of himself. His ultimate safety 
net was the Congress(I) nuyority in 
Parliament, which has a stake in ensur- 
ing that the government completes its 
five-year term. Most Congress(I) MPsr 
haunted by doubts about retaining their 
seats in the next elections, are not ready 
to revolt or precipitate any form of crisis 
that could lead to premature general 
elections— as V.P. Singh. Giani Zail 
Sin^ and company learnt much to their 
dismay this July. How Congressmen will 
behave towards the end ^ Rajiv Gan- 
dhi’s term is. however, anoth^ ques- 
tion. For. not too many are corvmc^ of 
their leader's election-winning abilities 
and are not impressed by his claims that 
the Congress(l) has won 13 out of 20 
Lok Sabha by-detections held since the 
last general elections. 

In 1988. the fourth year of his term, 
the Prime Minister is bound to achieve 
even less. His prim^ struggle will be 
to regain his political stock, build 
aOiances and to restore criKlihifity in a 
government that does not work. The 
effects of die drought will perforce lead 
to a further retreat from economic 
liberalisation and will accentuate protec- 
tionist trends. 

As for back as in early 1986. the 
Prime Minister had declared, in an 
interview, that he was somewhat 
apprehensive about the enormous ex- 
pectations people had of h» government 
and had that this "euphoria has to 
stop". The euphoria has stopped. 
Though not quite the way Rgjiv Gandhi, 
peifui^. expected it. And in 1988. 
euphoria might just turn to utter disen- 
chantment and despondency. For, Rqfor 
Gandhi's government had been given a 
htetocical opportunity to imptement an 
agenda for change. By the end of 1987 
that brief moment of opportunity had 
exfNTed— both for the nation and for the 
Rqjiv Gandhi government. 


VnalMlfWiiVw 


NEWSWATCH 



I 


The darir^ ambi^h of eight IAS officers by 
Naxalites in Andhra Pradesh has ^posed the 
vulnerability of the administration in coping with 


extremism 


A 8 dusk settled over the 
quiet hills around Pul- 
limettla, S. Ri Shankaran, 
principal secretary to the 
^dhra Pradesh govern- 
ment, and M. V. K. C. Sastry, the East 
Godavari district collector, with six 
other officials and a posse of clerks and 


peons headed for their jeeps after the 
700-strong sadasa (tribal assembly) had 
dispersed. Sunday, 27 December, had 
been a pleasant day. The tiny hamlet, 
surrounded by thick deciduous forests, 
was just the place to be in, even though 
it meant transacting official business on a 
holiday. The sadasa had lasted all day. 


and the tribals were considerate enough 
to realise the admiiustrato's limitations 
in solving many of their problems. Of 
course, a lot more had to be done: the 
tribals needed to be rescued froin the 
clutches of moneylenders, better medfc- 
al fa^ities to bring down the mortality 
rate, dearer demarcation of tribal and 
forest lands, more schools and monetary 
help. But udiat had already b^ accom- 
pUslied by the team of dedicated district 
officials-^stry and his officers— was 
enouidi to do the Integrated Tribal 
Development Agency (ITDA) in Andhra 
Pradesh's East Godav^ district— a 
stron^ld of the Naxalites — ^proud. 

Going over what they had. seen aid 
heard at the sadasa, Shankaran, (who is' 
not a district officer but chose to accom- 
pany the others because of his experi- 
ence and interest in the area), Sastiy, 
Manohar Prasad, the officer on special 
duty, (xirijan Coffee Cooperative P. 
Vijaykumar, the ITDA officer in the area 
(who is the son of the Bihar Governor P. 




Venkatasubbiah) appeared happy witk\ 
the result. Hard woifc and sincerity had 
helped: some 25,000 acres of land in the 
agency area had been brought under 
lucrative cashew cultivation that would 
yield a good Rs 8,500 per hectare and 
tribal farmers were being given a crop 
maintenance allowance of Rs 100 per 
acre and a large section of the 2, OOO-km 
long forest-tribdk' land bound^ had 
already been redemartated and the trib- 
als allotted fresh land pattas and perma- 
nent rights. Pushpa Thampi, the coy 
sub-collector of R^amundhi^, her hus- 
band, Reddy Subramaniam, the sub- 
collector of Rampachodavaram, and T. 
Radha, the joint collector of East Goda- 
vari all seemed impressed, too. The 
officials were all from the IAS, except 
for Manohar Pi^d who is from the 
state cadre. Together they form the 
creme de la creme of the staters admi- 
nistrative talent, They made their way 
to the four jeeps with their staff and 
drove off along the dusty, bumpy path 


A group of armed men, dressed 
in olive green, leapt out of (he 
forest, screamed extremist 
slogans, trained their Point 303s 
at the drivers and forced the 
convoy to a halt. On a closer view 
it was found that there were ten 
of them, three women and seven 
men, aged between 20 and 35 
years 


that led to Rampachodavaram and on to 
Rajamundhry. . 

The vehicles had hardly* travelled 
within ten km of Maredmalli when a 
group of armed persons, dressed in olive 
green, leapt out of the forest, screamed 
extremist slogans, .trained their old 
Point 303s at the drivers and forced the 
unescorted convoy to a halt. As the 
group came in full vieW, Sastry saw that 
there were ten of them, tfu-ee women 
and seven men, aged between 20 and 35 
years. The leader,' a 35-year-old man, 
seemed, a cautious, watchhil sort, and 
the rest amateurs. Obeymg orders, the 


officials scampered out of the jeeps and 
fined up ifor a quick roll call. They 
seemed to know all the officers' names,- 
but wwited them to identify themselves. 
The extremists had obviously been tip- 
ped off about the officials' visit . to 
Pullimettla, unscheduled though it was, 
and had planned to. kidnap them for 
ransom. But what eractly they wanted, 
the officials were not too sure. 

‘ Even as the officials were trying to 
read their captors' minds, the leader of 
the gang announced that they wanted 
eight of their colleagues who had been 
nabbed and lodged as undertrials in the 
Rajamundhry Jail released. The eight 
included six men-r-Godiivalli Venkatak- 
risbna Prasad (19), Ram Narendra (33), 
Venkataramap (45), Pannoji Parqmesh- 
war (26); Wprkapur Chandramouli i25), 
Pulfi Venkataiah (21)-^d two women, 
Laxmi (21) aiid Padma (19). All of them 
had been rounded up in police raids at 
three different places. The Naxalites 
wanted them handed over at a conve- 
nient exchange point, somewhere be- 
tween where they would go, up into the 
lulls, and the village , of Gurthedu. 

T he .gunmen were obviously not 
equipped to cope with a large group 
of hostages. They dipse to take only sbc 




of the top officials, letting the medical 
officers, clerks, peons and drivers go 
free. 'Hiey also released two officers, 
Radlia and lliampi. to carry their messa- 
ges to the government, and prove how 
well-intentioned they were. But along 
with the release of the officers rang out a 
firm ultimatum: ^'Release the prisoners 
or else the hostages will suffer the 
consequences." Thampi and Radha, 
along with the frighten^ 25-odd staff, 
drove some distance through near- 
darkness, took the tar road and sped 
toward Rajamundhry to break the news. 
Some of them stayed back at Gurthedu 
to keep a watch from there. 

The extremists got ready for a battle 
of nerves. Tlie officials already had 
blankets and mufflers with them, and tlie 
group picked up enough rice and sambar 
firom .the nearby ashram school to last 
them a couple of nights. They walked 
through the jforest, towards the hills 
around Gurthedu, as darkness fell over 
the area. After waUd^ some distance, 
the Naxalites and their hostages set up 
camp to retire for the night. Lighting 
bonfires was taboo, lest they be de- 
tected. But the officials and extremists 
appeared to get along well. "All the 
while, we kept talking about the local 
people and their problems," collector 
Sastiy said. The gimmen were obviously 
well-informed and educate. "We told 
them how much we can do, and they told, 
us how much they can do," &stry' 
recalled with a smile. Sometimes the 
argument dragged on through the ni^t 
If anything, the Intellectual stiimiktioii 
had help^ the nemus officials to 
le the situation better. 

After his release two days later, 
Shankaran had condemned the kidnap- 


•lumkar (toreground) wHh KanmMrm 


ping as an anuiteurish act, but he could 
not hide the deep impression theyoung 
men and women had made on him with 
their profound knowledge of and concern 
for the problems of the tribals. " Iliey 
seemed to know everything," another 
official admitted. Remarked K.G. Kan- 
nabiran, the Andhra l^adesh Civil Liber- 
ties Committee (APCLC) activist and 
allegedly a Naxalite sympathiser, "Hie 
fact that the youngsters could converse 
and argue for long hours with senior 
officials is proof of their understanding 
and intelligence." 

By the morning of 28 December, 
panic set in Tte state government 
learnt about the kidnap but refused to 
disclose any information. Hie first to 
broadcast the news was the BBC. at 
5.20 am, followed by the UNI. Later, 
AIR announced it in its 6 pm bulletin. 
And by the morning of the next day the 
sensational episode had made country- 
wide headlines. This was the first ever 
kidnap of such a large group of IAS 
officials, one of them a pitidpal secret- 


After his release, Shankaran 
could not hide the deep 
impression the young men and 
women had made on him with , 
their profound knowledge of and 
concern for the tribals. “They 
seemed to know everything,” 
anotbci official admitted 


ary, who had already been due for 
transfer as director of the famous Lai 
Bahadur Academy of Administration in 
Mussorie. The central and state govern- 
ments began formulating their first re- 
sponse, the Centre taking the hardline, 
and the state, the soft line. A company 
of CRPF men, including 20 crack com- 
mandos, was flown down to Vishakapat- 
nam, from where they were sent on 
their way to Rampachodavaram in three 
buses. On the other hand, the state 
government's industries secretary, 
B.N. Yugandhar. began discussing with 
the chief secretary, Shravan Kumar, and 
senior policemen the possibility of using 
the g(xxl offices of the APCLC chief, 
Kannabiran, to open negotiations with 
the Naxalites. "I have no objection," 
Shravan Kumar had reportedly said. 

441 would like to emphasise." Kanna- 
Ibiran said later, "that 1 had not 
gone on my own, as Shravan Kumar now 
claims, but with the fiill consent and 
approval of the government." Both the 
DG of police, Ramamohan Rao, and 
Shravan Kumar now maintain that he 
had not negotiated with the extremists 
as an official representative. As Kanna- 
biran says, it is the administration’s only 
way to save itself the embairassment of 
having to admit that they were unable to 
solve the problem on their own and had 
to take the help of somebody who is 
antagonistic to the state. 'Theycafiinea 
Naxalite," the lawyer said, '1)ecause 1 
take up the cases of the oppressed." 
The truth about his involvement in the 
negotiation, he explained, is that he had 
told his friend Yugandhar, who had 
approached hkn be help to get the 
offidab released, that he would come 


•IMMV 19M 




NEWSWATCH 


r 

into the picture only if he was requested 
to do so in writing. When this was not 
forthcoming, and Yugandhar kept insist- 
ing Kannabiram to intervene saying that 
he had discussed it with Shravan Kumar 
and it was '*okay", the APCLC chief 
wanted the “discussion” minuted and 
wanted to keep a copy of the minutes. “I 
have a copy”, he claimed, “and will use it 
at an appropriate time.” Earlier, around 
midnight on 27-28 December, when 
Yugandhar telephoned the civil liberties 
lawyer about the kidnap, the former was 
aghast that Shankaran and Sastry had 
been taken hostage and was afraid of 
consequent police reprisals against the 
tribals. 

On 29 December, the lawyer and the 
state industries secretary travelled by 
train to Rajamundhry and proceeded to 
the jail. Curiously, the ei^t Naxalites 
were in custody without anything on 
record about their arrest. The cases 
against them were yet to be registered. 
But now that their release had become 
the precondition of saving eight precious 
lives, the government had decided to 
hasten the judicial process. After the 
two reached Rajamundhry, the eight 
undertrials were rushed to court, identi- 
fied for their offences, and released on 
bail. Ironically, placing the charges 
against them on record was the only way 
they could be freed. 

Meanwhile inside the jungle it was late 
in the evening. The hostages and their 
captors had been walking all day. and the 
strain had begun to teU on Shankaran. 
The hostages and their captors had been 
warm and friendly towards one another. 
“The radio was our only means of 
getting information,” said Reddy Sub- 
ramaniam, one of the hostages. “Every- 
thing seemed to be going smoothly,” he 
recalled, “till they heard what was 
broadcast over the 5 pm AIR news 
bulletin. A team of commandos were on 
their way to the forests. One of the 
demands of the Naxalites had been that 
there should be no police presence. 
They had been so friendly all along, but 
suddenly, they seemed to have trans- 
formed. They^ were silent, their looks 
changed. The news came again on the 
6 pm and 6.15 pm bulletins. We were 
lined up almost instantly. There was no 
way we could reason with them. One of 
them told us: *Now we have you. We will 
keep just one of our men with you and 
hide. When your police comes, we wili 
lose just one man, but your casualties 
will be eight.' We feh a diiO in our 
spines. .The whole group as sudi was 
not amateurish. The leader was sBghtly 
better than the others. But if the 
government bad sent commandos in 
helicopters, then we were certain we 


would be shot. Suddenly, all hope 
seemed to evaporate. We rated our 
chances 50-50 then.” A troubled Sastry 
looked around for. a pen and paper, and 
scribbled out a letter to Yugandhar. 
requesting the police to be kept out of 
the neighbourhood and advise the admi- 
nistration not to “act”— at least for the 
sake of its officers. The letter was 
delivered by one of the hostages — 
assistant collector Narsinghrao. who 
walked as fast as he could to Darlagadda. 

Yugandhar and Kannabiran waited in 
vain for a signal from the extremists. 
But nothing seemed to be happening. “If 
nobody turns up,” said one of the men 
they had brought from jail, “we would be 
glad to return to prison.” That was 
enough to scare the civil servant. So 
when Narsinghrao appeared out of the 
darkness with the letter from Sastry — 
and the extremists' cold warning of 
massacre— Yufpndhar reacted with a 
mbeture of relief and fear. The most 


When the state's chief secretary, 
Shravan Kumar, was asked about 
the possibility of using the good 
offices of the APCLC chief, 
Kannabiram. to open negotiations 
with the Naxalites, he had 
reportedly said. "I have no 
objections" 



important thing to do then, he recog- 
nised, was to keep the bosses in Delhi 
and Hyderabad at bay. Once he had 
assured the government that the crisis 
would be resolved only if the police 
stayed out, and news of the police being 
kept away was broadcast, the gunmen 
appeared satisfied. 

I dentified as members of the People's 
War Group (PWG), the dominant 
Naxalite group in the area, the extrem- 
ists had completed their mission with 
remarkable ease. The incident has 
boosted the morale of the Naxalites and 
demoralised the administration, “llie 
fear of being kidnapped for ransom will 
now prevent honest, hardworking offic- 
ers from travelling into the interior 
without informing the police, or taking 
police escorts,” said a government offi- 
cial in Kakinada, the East Godavari 
district headquarters. 

Such a situation would make the police 
more powerful. Of course, bureaucrats, 
especially from the IAS, have their own 
reasons for opposing the concentration 
of powers in the hands of the police. But 
can an officer in charge of tribal welfare 
actually get any work done without 
winning the confidence of the tribals.^ 
The police is a symbol of repression. 
Armed guards can only serve to frighten 
the poor. So scared are the tribals of the 
police that they even hesitate to confide 
in administrative officials. When the 
news of Shankaran and Sastry's kidnap- 
ping had spread, some 500 villagers had 
gathered in Gutchedu— not because 
they were deeply concerned about the 
officials' fate but about their own. If 
there is anything they dread, it is the 
wrath of a reckless police force. It has 
been a practice, since the days of Vengal 
Rao's violent rule, fo^ the police to 
“raid” tribal villages to root out extrem- 
ists. The “raid” is actually an orgy of loot 
and arson— like the one on '2-3 May, 
1987, when 680 tribal huts were burned 
down in Chetapalli. 

One shameful aspect which has come 
to light after the incident is the insensi- 
tivity of the central government towards 
its dedicated officers. The kidnapping 
episode gave the Centre a splendid 
opportunity to establish a case for Presi- 
d^t's Rule. Even today the CRPF and 
the commandos continue to wait for 
instructions in their camp at the Girijan 
College Grounds in Rampachodavaram. 
One of them confided: “I’m sure the 
officers here are in league with the 
extremists. They just got themselves 
kidnapped because they wanted to get 
their men out of jail. We know we won’t 
be asked to do anyUiing.” 

— ■ m 

nifllMi wnMvmwwjn&iWOmM 




37 



COMMENT 

SEEMA MUSTAFA 


The PM is always i%ht 


The last bureaucrat to have been shunted out of the PM*s office is Gopi Arora 


R ajiv Gandhi makes and breaks the 
reputation of senior bureaucrats 
with supreme unconcern. The 
latest victim is Gf)pi Krishan Arora. 
'Iliough he was special secretary in 
the Prime Minister's office, he was the most 
effective bureaucrat. He has been shunted to the 
information and broadcasting ministry, which is 
considered a relatively less-important posting. 

What a comedown for Arora. The contrast 
becomes sharper in the context of the earlier 
appointment of another special secretary in the 
Prime Minister’s office, Ms Otima Bordia, to the 
coveted industry ministry. Of course, the Prime 
Minister must have consoled Arora by saying 
how important the information and broadcasting 
ministry is. 

What is Rajiv (jandhi's problem with bureauc- 
rats? Perhaps, a more apt description would be 
*'a bad workman blames his tools". He has been 
frequently firing not only senior bureaucrats but 
his political aides and party bureaucrats too. 
Among his political aides who have fallen by the 
wayside are Vijay Dhar, Anin Nehru and Arun 
Singh. At one point of time, Arjun Singh was one 
of his closest political aides. Today, he is 
nowhere. Rajiv Gandhi has chang^ AICC 
general secretaries thrice. He has, in fact, 
already started expressing his dissatisfaction 
with the new team of party secretaries appointed 
barely three months ago. The only p.'»ity func- 
tionaries who seem to lead charmed lives are 
Makhan l.ai Potedar and Sitaram Kesri. But 
already the cracks seem to be appearing in the 
relationsliip between the PM and Fotedar. The 
PM has reshuffled the Cabinet ten times. Among 
the high-profile bureaucrats, the only one to 
survive thus far is Mani Shankar Aiyer. But his 
wings were clipped with the induction of Rajiv 
Gandhi's classmate Suman Dubey, who is tech- 
nically in the information and broadcasting minis- 
try but practically in the Prime Minister's office. 

Why did Arora meet this fate? "We knew this 
would ultimately happen. We had warned Gopi 
(Arora) that he would not last long there,” said 
an official fairly close to Arora. Anybody, who in 
the current style of govferance becomes effective 
in the PM's office, is normally in a vulnerable 
position. He becomes an olqect of jealousy of 
many bureaucrats and politicians. He copies 
under the glare of the media, as Arora did for the 
last year or so. An instance will illustrate how 
any person in that position can make enemies. 

I When K.K. Tewari issued a statemem aglkinal 
I the President, the Prime Minister ask^. 1^. 
! ministerial colleagues what should be (Wie. 

I lliey kept quiet. Then he turned to Arora, who 
1 ^ was frank eiiou|^ give his opinion: "Sir, if Mr 

38 ' ' ' ^ 



When so much 
power is 
conc6nir3i6Q HI 
the Prime 
Ministers hands, 
palace intrigiies in 
thePRirsoflice 
an not 

uncommon. Saria 
Grewal,whohas 
beenonoxtenaion 
and is senior to 


Gopi|»en,folt 

pirieidarly 

i fnihLn 

iniMIIIIOll llylllll 


Tewari does not apologise, then his continuance 
in the council of ministers would not be correct." 
That day Tewari took a vow to finish Arora. 
When so much power is concentrated in the 
Prime Minister's hands, palace intrigues in the 
PM’s office are not uncommon. Saria Grewal, 
who has been on extension and is senior to 
Arora, felt particularly threatened by him. 

What really provided ammunition to Arora's 
detractors \.as his stance towards Vishwanath 
Pratap Singh. He was in favour of a reconciliation 
with the former finance minister. Insiders say 
that when Rajiv Gandhi did not accept V.P. 
Singh’s resignation from the party and G.K. 
Moopanar, AICC general-secretary, issued a 
statement that V.P. Singh was not indulging in 
any anti-party activities, it was Arora’s influence 
which was working on the Prime Minister. After 
the Thakkar-Natarajan Commission report too, 
Arora was of the view that since the minister had 
taken responsibility, a lenient view should be 
taken of the procedural lapses by Vinod Pande 
and Bhure Lai. 'Phis was not to the liking of the 
hawkish young ministers like Chidambaram and 
Bhardwaj. A section of the business lobby, many 
people suspect it was Reliance, was not favour- 
ably disposed towards him. Gopi Arora thus 
became the victim of a cohibined lobby 
comprising bureaucrats, politicians and 
businessmen. 

It was natural for various lobbies to work 
against Arora But the question that arises is: 
why did the Prime Minister oblige these lobbies? 
Riyiv Gandhi is not a person who can be 
pressured by such lobbies. Obviously, some- 
thing must have changed his mind. 

One of his political friends, Rangarajan Kumar- 
amangalam said that Rsgiv Gandhi would continue 
to madee changes in his staflf till he discovered his 
miracle men. Mrs Indira Gandhi was no intellec- 
tual. She could not speak out her ideas. For over 
three years after she came to power, she kept 
on searching for her political and bureaucratic 
advisers. It was in P.N. Haksar that she found 
such a man. Later, she could speak out her 
mind. Rajiv Gandhi has also been experimenting 
. with advisers. He is in search of a Haksar. Gopi 
I Arora could not be Rqjiv Gandhi's Haksar. That 
their minds could never meet was aptly summed 
up by Arora himself. At a meeting of academi- 
dai^ in Delhi, Rqjiv Gandhi delivered an excel- 
lent speech on communalism and a friend told 
Arora that he should have taken the precaution 
of using idioins, expressions and terminology 
which are natural to Rqjiv Gandhi.' He replied: "If 
I had done that then it would not have been my 
thoughts, it would have been Mani Shankar 
Aiyer's thoughts. "O 


SUNaAV1&-19JmMiy1l 




PLACES 


Sacred city, secular times 


D uring a casual stroll down the 
streets of Bhehipura in Banaras, 
the visitor may chance upon a 
huge and ornate facade sporting a bhie 
signboard saying 'Datamation'' in large 
white letters. Smaller letters proclaim 
that this was the ancient palace of the 
royal family of Vgyanagaram. Wanderii^ 
in through the wrought iron gates he will 
see an open central space. On one side, 
the two floors of pillared balconies and 
spacious rooms are humming with office 
personnel and high-tech equipment. 
Opposite are two other floors, yawning, 
empty, dark. 

Beyond the palace precincts lies an 
extensive wilderness. Throu^ the 
overgrown shrubs one catdies glimp^s 
of Egyptian sphinxes— ornamentation 
for a defunct fountain. Further back, 
gleam the white marble st^s and walls 
of a newer palace. Curiosity, however, 
is not welcomed. 

“Who lives in this palace?” asks the 
visitor. 


For centimes Banaras 
hasbeenaprime 
destination for Indian 
pUgtvns. But witii tite 
erosion of traditional 
vahtesandbdi^, 
Banaras is adapting 
grac^itlly to 
modemay, without 
losing character 

Silence from the dour-faced guards. 
"Why don't you answer?” 

Blank eyes, teeth chomping paan. 

A few more equally fruitless ques- 
tions, brought to an inglorious end as a 
menagerie of dogs is let loose. 

The sequence is an appropriate 
metaphor for today's Banaras O^aranask' 


Kashi). It is no lo^r simply a holy of 
holies where pilgrims and others seek 
salvation. It is an unusual, history-laden 
tourist spot as well as a flourishing 
centre of bu^ss and technology. The 
coexistence of the old and the new wiD 
fascinate the outsider, but too dose an 
examination will not be pennitted. 

Physically, very little has ch^ed in 
the general look of the dty over the last 
hundred years or so. It is still a city of 
tortuous alleys (the famed Banarasi 
gafr), temple spires of various heists 
and designs, crumbling old buildings with 
pillared balconies and patterned walls, 
bordered on one side by ghats leading to 
the Ganga. It is a dty where humans and 
animals coexist widi infinite intimacy. 
The narrow gaffs are probably the fflth-. 
iest in India, with the normal accumula- 
tion of garbage generously sup- 
plemented by the drivings of cattle 
(buUs, supposedly favoured by Shiva, 
have ro)^ status here). It is a dty of 
intense life, raucous sounds, and garish 


Banaras is no longer a holy of holies where pilgrims seek salvation 


Banaras ghata: Unchangad through tha agaa 



•umAvia-it4m«ryiaM ^ABUrphotographsiRaghublr Singh 





colours. A city which never goes to 
sleep before two am. and is iijevitably up 
by four am. 

The temples still do brisk business in 
religiosity. Morning, afternoon and 
evening the bells ring, the priests chant, 
the devotees gather and make their 
ritual offering of flowers and prayer— 
but outside armed guards in khaki lounge 
lazily. This intrusion of the secular into 
the realm of the sacred is a comparative- 
ly recent phenomenon, an attempt to 
protect, visitors to Banaras from the 
tyranny of the notorious pandas. Vish- 
wanath Temple, the biggest religious 
draw of the city, now has a secretary, a 


shaven-headed, corpulent, former IAS 
officer. But though he is not half as much 
of a terror as his religious predecessors, 
he is still a stickler about temple disci- 
pline. '*1 don’t want you journalists to 
take pictures inside the temple. You 
print them in papers and magazines 
which end up being trampled by men and 
animals in the streets. That’s sacrilege!” 

Outside in the gali, flower-sellers sit 
behind their piles of marigolds and 
collections of lotuses. Nesct to them is an 
impressive figure of dignity. He is one of 
the seniormost priests of the temple— 
impeccably dressed in cream and red 
silk. As the visitors emerge from the 


temple, he beckons them closer. In one 
hand he carries a small container of 
sacred ash or vibhuti. 'Fhe unwary 
stranger will bend his head in response 
to an imperious foref^er dipped into 
the container, and let himself receive the 
sacred tika or tSak, The next minute, 
however, he has to recoil, because the 
same gracious hand is held out in an 
uhniistakeable gesture demanding pay- 
ment. But in Siis sinful kaHyuga it is 
possible to ignore the demand and walk 
away 

I t is an appropriate indication of the 
commerci^ spirit of Banaras. Vish- 


Intsrior of tht Ramnagar Fort: a parfact salting for tha Raja of Banaras 






wanath gaii is chock-full of shops selling 
an unimaginable variety of goods. As you 
walk down you beo^ aware of an 
amazing coexistence of human, animal, 
vegetable and floral essences. Many- 
hued glass and lacquer bangles wink 
enticingly at the pedestrian, as do brass 
and copper artilacts, and the brightly 
coloured wooden toys of Banaras. But 
the goods are often disappointing close 
up, even though sales are brisk. La- 
ments Dr Anand Krishna, former Dean 
of Banaras Hindu University and an 
expert on the history and culture of 
Bwaras, *There is no place today for 
the Banaras toymaker and brasswoiicer 


- 




A priMi ouWlds Vlthwsnalh tMnpis: blt si lng s , at a prioa 


among his own people. His only custom- 
ers are the tourists—and that means 
standardisation and lack of crafts- 
manship." 

Side by side with these traditional 
products, are shops displaying the most 
sophisticated electric kitchen equipment 
as well as plastic and stainless steel 
plates and bowls. The latter too is 
anathema to old Banaras-lovers like 
Krishna. *The single greatest menace of 
modem times is the advent of plastic," 
he growls. And stahut ss steel is so bad 
that it does not even merit comment. 

Further down the gaH, where the 
crowd is thinner, Jhiima Sardar sells 
mouth-watering labri and mabL Beside 
his shop, a huge black cauldron of milk is 
kept perpetually on the boil, so that 
more and more malw' can be skimmed off 
the surture. Like everytlung else, the 
fabled sweets Banaras have also 
suffered a decline, or so say the old- 

timers. But even in ^ ; 

their present state, the . hNUA m 

sweets are likely to pro- 

vide more satis&ctiontc 

the newcomer than 

iNuigles or toys. ' > 

Opposite one end of ' ■ \ iNBIPfe 
the Vishwanath gaH are • 
several of the most . 
weO-known aanii shops 
of Banaras. Many of the V 
proprietors are Bengalis 
who have been settled 
in the dty for gsnm- ^ 
tions. The Bengalis in 
foot, form the largest 
group of expatriate set- 
tiers in Banaras. Shank- 
ar Bhattadarya, prop- 




rietor of Anil's Zarda, sits in his shop like 
some high priest of refined living. He is 
fiill of i^e in his product and fidi of 
contenqit for those who choose to buy 
ready-ii^ed brands. "Those things are 
aO ri^t if you want to make everyone 
aware of the scent of your zardas. If you 
have Banarasi zarda with your paan, 
nobody else will be forced to notice any 
kind of scent. But you will feel for the 
next one hour that you have had some- 
thing special. No cheap scents— just 
taste." People come to Ito fixxn all over 
India to buy zardas ranging in quality 
between Rs 10 to Rs 100 per bhari (10 
graira). But the voice of dissent is not to 
be silenced. 

"What is so great about this zarda we 
sell now in Banaras?" savs V. Prasad, 
development director (whatever that 
means) for the newspaper Agj. "In my 
youth we used to buy zarda which had 
real saffixm, real musk, real rosewater. 
Now it's all chemicals. And the zartb 
, r sellers who make up the 

Ifl give you anything 

™ch better than the 
ready-packed brands." 
The bewildered visitor, 
will wonder whether his 
money has been 
•' - ■ wasted, and probably 
end up crusUng aU 
outsSe, it 
is so easy to impress 
, people by invol^ the 
I ' glory of Banarasi zarda/ 

'' It is not too far from 
enclave to 
the waterfront. The 
ghats of Banaras, each 






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with its own particular history, present 
the '^eternal" of the city. Dashash- 
wamedh, Panchganga, Manikamika, 
Maranandir, Meer— each name evokes 
some story, some era. The steps, worn 
out by countless feet, lead to the holiest 
and most polluted river in the land. But 
thou^ the faithful can still be seen 
standing waist-deep in the river, eyes 
closed and hands folded, chanting sacred 
verses, their numbers have dwindled. 

Many of the devout in the old days 
were widows whose fomilies welcom^ 
the chance to get rid of than by 
pensioning them elf to Banaras. But with 
the steep rise in costs of living (Banaras 
was the most expensive dty in India as 
of August 1987 accordmg to a govern- 
ment report), they too have ston)ed 
coming. Many of those who remain are 
too old and frail and disheartened, to 
negotiate the steps of the ghats. 

Instead, there are the tourists and 
sightseers, domestic and foreign, mid- 
dleclass and afSuent And the nufiiis or 
boatmen who sit waiting on the ghats 
manage to get hold of them with the 
bygone efGcxi^ of the pandas. Of 
evening, the river is dotted with little 
boats paddling up and down, giving the 
ritual trip to these tourists. 


Msjhis like Probhu, Mahavir, and Ram 
have lived in Banaras for generations 
and follow the profession of their fore- 
fathers. But they have kept up with the 
changing times, and suit their conversa- 
tions to their clientele. "Are you from 
Calcutta? Look, there's Darbhainga ghat. 


That's where your director, Satyajit 
Ray, shot his film Joi Baba Fe/unaf/i." 
"You are a press photographer? I'll take 
you to the bum^ ghats. Ordinary 
people can't take pictures there. But I'll 
arrange it for you. You must have heard 
of the great photographer Raghubir 



aUMMV 1»*1S JMiaiy INS 


44 





Maharaja of Yljyanagaram'a Banaraa palaea: rulnad aplandour 


Singh. He is my friend, he came to my the ghats, the passeng'^r is granted the 

house.” “And when you've seen the incongruous, amusing; ^ .ght of a foreign 

river. 111 take you to the Banarasi saree couple busily washing their clothes na> 

dealers. They will give you concessions tive style, 

because you are my friend." 

The boat travels down the Ganga as KAut there is neither incongruity nor 

the sun descends in the west. At one of ^Pamusement in an encounter with 


Dlwall, tht ftallvol of llglits: a rlchsliaw pullar dacoralaa hla vohido 



.Manikamika ghat—the largest of them 
all. As the majhi will tell you, this is a 
mahashmashsm or burning ghat. It is the 
centre of Banaras's flourishing dead 
body industry. Twenty-four hours a day, 
die pyres keep burning, as the dead 
come to meet their end from all over 
India. 

The tycoon of this grisly business is 
the Dom Raja, the head of the untouch- 
able Dom community. The office is 
usually heredity, though the eldest son 
is not necessarily chosen to be the next 
Dom R^ja. The doms are an essential 
part of the Hindu cremation rites, since 
they provide the first touch of fire (real, 
not ritual) and also make sure that the 
corpse bums thoroughly. The Dom Raja 
capitalises ^on this by charging tariff for 
these services. Depending on their eco- 
nomic status, the relatives of the dead 
have to pay up. According to some 
estimates, the Dom Raja's daily income 
is as much as Rs 1,0(X) even after paying 
off all his henchmen. 

The current incumbent has not been 
in office for more than two years. |His 
father Kalp was a legend— his ruthless- 
ness and greed are still mentioned 
admiringly by the other doms. They are 
also friU of pride in their macabn^ pro fes- , 

45 









Muellm woiTMn iMhInd burlfhat: communal eooxialtnco 



A Mfdla chop: part of tha Banaraa athoa and (balOw) Intarlor of the Vtahwanath tampla; 
pritala In action 


sion. “Not a single person can bum their 
dead if we don't help them/' says a dom 
called Katlu. 

Within the city, and along some of the 
main roads leadng out of it, there are 
huge bill-boards bearing the legend 
“Ganga Seva Bharat Seva.” All that the 
government's efforts have accomplished 
so far is that half-burnt corpses no 
longer float near the ghats. However, 
near the horse-shoe bend of the Ganga 
which flows northwards {uttarbahini) at 
Banaras, people dump animal as well as 
human corpses. This organic debris gets 
stuck in the bend and provides food *or 
carnivorous birds. Alongside the ghats 
organic wastes produce their metallic 
stench of decay. And dismembered 
lands of marigolds which once decorated < 
the dead find their way to the feet of the i 
Uving bathers. I 

46 



The miracle is that the river stiD does 
not lose its holiness for the real believ- 
ers. In Banaras they do not have to be 
Hindus either. Shehnai maestro, Ustad 
Bistnillah Khan, described by some as 
the only person of i^tional status in the 
dty, says, “Everytime I come back 
home from abroad I make a point of 
bathing in the Ganga. I feel cleansed.” 


A rkkshaw-ride from Bhelupura to 
Godhulia, the busiest intersection 
in town. The rickshaw passes through 
Madanpura, an area mostly populated by 
the Muslim weavers of Bsuu^si silks. 
The women, covered head to foot in 
black burkhas walk along the streets, 
holding their children by the hand. The 
men in their caps and huigis, can be seen 
sitting on their porches, or clustering in 
teashops. 

The Banarasi silk industry is still one * 
of the nuQor businesses of the dty. R.L. 
Kapoor, manager of R^j Sflk Industries 
in Lahoritola, estimates that as much as 
70% of the population of the dty lives by 
some aspect of Banarasi saree produc- 
tion—desigimg, dyeing, weaving, star- 
ching, washing and sel^. While such 
an estimate may be too generous, there 
is no doubt that this is one of the major 
sources of employment in Banaras. In 
the past, the weavers were mostly 
Hindus. But over the Jast twenty years 
the Muslims have made their way into 
the trade. Unlike the Hindus, the Mus- 
lims engage in their weaving profession 
en ihm^. A visitor to a loom will see 
young Muslim children busfly manipulat- 
ing thread and shuttle. Loom owners 
have no qualms about this. One of them, 
commonly known by his sobriquet, 
“Babuda”, says, 'These kids were born 
to the tra^. Why should I feel sorry for 
them? And it costs us half the money we 
would have to pay if we employed adult 
weavers.” 

Side by side with traditional crafts are 
the modem enterprises producing water 
pumps, electric &ds and electrc^ and 
• engineering products. The Banaras Hin- 
du University (BHU), the largest re- 
sidential university in the coun^ is 
well-known for its science and engineer- 
ing departments. And the “Geeta Pusta- 
k^ya” near the umversity gates sur- 
prises the visitor with its collection of 
non-rdigious titles like the Feynman 
Lectures on physics, or Tarla Dalai's 
book on vegeUrian cooking. 

Though it is not openly a bastion of 
Hindu fundamentalism like the Sampur- 
nanand Sanskrit University and the 
Kashi Vidyapeeth, BHU is fiindamental- 

■IMDAV1ft-l»Jinuinr1Ni 





|e first real touch of fire and make sure that the corpse burns thoroughly 


ly an institution for Hindus. Of the 17000 
(approx) students and almost 2000 jhcul- 
ty members, a ne^Ue (hoportion 
belongs to other religious communities. 

But other religions are no strangers to 
Banaras. Gautani Buddha himself came 
here to preach his new-found wisdom. A 
half-houi^s drive away, Samath with its 
Buddhist ruins stan^ as a serene 
memorial to those times. And Aurang- 
zeb's mosque, almost integrated with 
the ruins of the old Vishwanath Temple, 
bears witness to the fiiry of Muslim 
conquests. 

Beyond the BHU campus, across the 
liver is Kamnagar Fort, the residence of 
Vibhuti Narain Singh, the Raja oi Ba- 
naras. The fomily has ruled Banaras 
from 1730. The present raja has exten- 
sive agricultural and residential prop- 
erties in and out of Banaras. He also 
happens to be a promoter of the T^ 
Group. But his reputation rests on his 
great devotion to orthodox Hindu cul- 
ture. 


A ny afternoon at the Godhulia cross- 
roads will inevitably embroil you in 
the most nerve-racking traffic jam. Ba- 
naras not being Bombay or Calcutta, 
most of the traffic is made up of 
rickshaws, autorickshaws, bicycles and 
small vans, with a few buses and cars 
thrown in. The decibel level is definitely 
higher than in a big-city jam and the 
choicest abuse is ext^nged with vigour. 
In the centre, a couple of traffic police 
make ineffec^ gestures, hoping to 
wish away the multitude of men and 
vehicles. Some others lounge on one 
side, utterly unconcerned. And some- 
how, sooner rather than later, the traffic 
does unsnarl itself and the roads clear. 

Perhaps this unconcerned way of 
confronting thini^ is the dominant trait 
of Banaras. This is a dty that has seen it 
all. And having seen it, it knows the 
futility of reacting strongly, of trying too 
hard. The chaos, the the squalor 
and the decay— all is taken in stride as a 
condition of Hvii^. And an autorickshaw 
driver feels no incongruity in entertain- 
ing his passenger on a winter afternoon 
with stories about the famous mangoes 
of Banaras, particularly the succulent 
kmm of Motghil. 

"Motyhil?" queries the passenger. 
‘‘What is that?" 

"A beautifril estate, where the de- 
scendants of Raja Motichand live. They 
are one of our old femilies.*' 

So the visitor has to go to MotiyhiL In 
the middle of a 30-acre estate stands a 
huge baroque mansion built in 1904. The 


head of the family. Anil Kiiniar Cnxpta 
and his two brot^rs greet the unex- 
pected guest with courtesy and warmth. 
Generations of living in Banaras have 
made them aware of fundamental 
changes. 

“People come here now with mixed 
motives, " says Anil Kumar Gupta. “It is 
no longer just for pilgrimage or to die in 
KashL It is more with curiosity. Tour- 
ism, rather than pilgrimage is the main 
reason." And even among the pilgrims, 
he notes, there has been a change. They 
are mostly middle or working class 
people instead of the affluent who used 
to come to Banaras in old days, and 
maintained homes here for their fre- 
quent visits. Devotees in temples now 
do not perform their rituals with the 
ceremor^ absorption of their predeces- 
sors. llie ritual is more a chore to be 


brisk business according to Mahantaji, 
manager of Chitra Cinema. "Moviegoing 
is the most popular form of entertain- 
ment today." For the elite there are also 
the various clubs to visit in the evenings. 
As in other cities of India, prosperity has 
brought commercialisation and mass en- 
tertainment in its wake. 

But certain elements of the past are 
still evoked and enjoyed. Festivals like 
Holi and Dusserah are observed with 
colour and exuberance. And when those 
important occasions are not there, the 
Banarasi still knows how to enjoy him- 
self. Bismillah Khan describes the 
archetypical Banarasi. "If he has earned 
Rs 10 he feels he has enough. Rs 5 he 
wili give to his family. Free of obligation, 
he then go and bathe in the Ganga. 
With the remaining money he will eat 
simple but good food, buy a paan, 



Hm MoUllill MtaM: ImoosiiMi taoMto 


completed before they can get on with 
the business of sightseeing or having 
fiin. 

This evaporation of ceremony has also 
shorn other popular pastimes of their 
joy. V. Prasad recalls the gracious days 
of his youth when groups young men 
would go out for pa^es. "Be- 
naras ka bhang, diat was really some- 
thing," he says. "Malai and orange and 
white pepper and almonds were all 
added to the pastil bhang leaves. The 
whole mixture took four hours to pre- 
pare. Finally, it was strained through a 
fine calico handkerchief. Four people out 
for a btmg party, woidd only have to 
pay Rs 10 for this delectable mixture, 
which was not for nesha but for plea- 
sure. A sophisticated pleasure." 

Today’s pleasures are less sophisti- 
caited. The 22 cinemas in Banaras do 


perhaps have a sip of bhang-anA will 
feel he is as good as any Nawab." 

When you belong to a city that seems 
to l»ve been around for ever, such . 
pleasures of the moment seem the thing 
to go for. Tradition, religion, history and 
culture— all have been given in such 
good measure that they can be taken for 
granted. The temples remain, witnesses 
to man’s compulsive need for worsliip. 
The (diats remain, a symbol of the 
human dependence on nature. Historic 
buildings and palaces hide behind office 
facades, 'llic shops and the businesses ! 
carry on trade, much as they did before. 
But the moment chiingcs. From the ‘ 
vantage ground Of eternity Banaras wel- . 
comes the new moment and adapts ‘ 
herself gracefully to it. j 


MNMV I0~ie JtniMiy t W 


47 


lUVi SHANKAR 





Tilthistalk about 

OSIEUWlOUS LIW6- 
\JHAT AMOT 

nw 



. -rii 


T’ <v 

> . X ? y ^ 


VTvj.'vO'’, 




■t> . U 



'iTi 







nf^\ 







FOCUS 


Astateof 
cri s b 

The five-year-old R. K. Hegde government in 
Karnataka has provided political stability to 
• the state along with drinking water and 
electricity to the villages. However, there is 
disillusionment all round 


O n 10 January, '83, even as 
the new Janata government 
was being sworn in, no 
bookie would have accepted 
odds on the Hei^e ministry 
completing its term. Riding piggyback on 
an assortment of parties and interests 
including the Kranti Ranga, the BJP and 
the Communists, the shaky ministry 
seemed fra^le and doomed. It was a 
question of time before the Congress(I) 
took over the reins again. 

On 10 January '88, that same govern- 
ment, sans allies or coalition, is all set to 
hold a celebration rally to mark five 
years in office, (totted • ith four general 
elections, each of whi* h gave the Janata 
a comfortable majority. 

Five years later, the saddle feels 
much firmer, but it has not become any 
softer. Political stability has been offset 
by fiscal turbulence, with four succes- 
sive years of drought exposing the 
vulnerability of the administration. The 
fifth anniversary will be celebrated with- 
out any pomp and show and the one lakh 
participants who are expected to con- 
verge onto the capital will be catered for 
with a one-month wage contribution 
from all party deie- 
gates who hold 
elected office. This 
is not mere jurispru- 
dence, it is also Idnd- 
sic^t. Last year in 
May, the Janata jam- 
boree in Bangalore, 
which marked ten 
years of the party’s 
post-Emergency ex- 
istence, raised many 
questions as to 
where the lakhs of 
rupees spent <m lav- 
ish arrangements 
came from. 


If the celebrations this time arc to be 
modest though, the govemmenc has 
much to be modest about. Disillusion- 
ment about the Janata's capabilities, and 
worse, about its intentions has gripped 
public and press alike. 

'llie worst problem the government 
faces today is its financial crisis. What 
the Opposition calls bankruptcy and the 
Hegde ministry euphemises as a re- 
source crunch has severely affected 
developmental activity in the state. A 
recent cutback of Rsll? crores in plan 
outlay, plus additional ten per cent cuts 
in non-plan expenditure and several 
other curtailments have only confirmed 
the worsening situation. The govern- 
ment has simply been unable to mobilise 
adequate resources. Excise and com- 
mercial tax arrears alone run to R$ 
163.89 crores though part of it is due to 
the state’s public sector undertakings. 
Ministers drop cautious hints that gov- 
ernment employees, who have been 
given hefty pay hikes recently, may have 
to follow the example of Andfura Pradesh 
and take a salary holiday for a couple of 
months. The chief minister himself asks 
government staff to deposit a tenth of 
, their incomes in sav- 
ings certificates. 
Meanwhile, of the 
Rs 347 crores ear- 
marked for the Jana- 
ta’s most prestigious 
political program- 
me — the formation 
of the mandal pan- 
chayats and ailla 
parishads — only Rs 
41-odd crores have 
beeti actually dis- 
bursed. Reason: 
there is simply not 
enough cash in the 
tr^sury. 



49 




The Begie Hi im b • aiMKd 
au, awuv of bb gomtimaita 
amny Muub it the state level yet 
ocmUeat that no auttaeat cbaBage 
has apnaig ep yet to oppose t 
Bxoapta ttom an interview. 

SvsBAr: Whet la tile Mbraiee 
between the Remnkriahna 
Begie eflMi end the Beads at 
tedegT 

Hegde: The Ramkiialma Hegde 
of toi^ hpe become older by five 
years. I feel I must have put oo a 
mburnum of ten yean of age. 

Fee. Bad whad ofieol diMbr> 
emie In n ashUeat sense?, 

When I took over, I was not veiy 
certain whether it woidd be possible > 
fiorme to meet the chdenge. The 
future itadf was rather unoectaia 
We <Sd not have a majority and I was 
aware that the Congress and the 
central government would do every- 
thing to pul down this ministry. Am 
flien we had a very taU otiet of 
e)ectoialpranises(tofiilfiO. Ididnot 
have any band in preparing or draw- 
ing up the electiott manifesto. It was 
done at the local level, I was the 
general secretary. So, I waa uncer- 
tain, not too oontident...i started 
hesilatingly. Now I am confident, 1 
have a sense of fiilfilnient and 1 M 
proud also that in apite of aO dieee 
handicaps ted the Jansia 

government has done wdL I can 
stand ig> anywhere and chalenge the 
petfotinanoe of any other govern- 
menL 

llWnf ore gwir amhi rsan/ts? 

Flrstiy, if there waa no financial 
crisis, our performance would have 
been fur better that what we have 
been able to ahow. And secondly, we 
have, for various reasons, maiidy 
because almost evmy year we h^ 
hid to fiM dQctxMiSp 196 hsd 110 lira 
to buid up the party cadre. We have 
not otgatdsed campe or vflage unilB 
properly and mmber thrce,ipcriu|u, 
the corruptkai saddens* me, at 
varions levrfa. Of course, it is ainoet 
endemic e v erywhere, but in spite of 
certehi a cti o n s we have utken... 

Whad etsaa haws gen teksm ts . 
stag e erng t ia n et Me htgUer 
leeela? 

Whaiiever there has been a ooin^ 
pumt 1 Jum onwreQ m oKpiicy. ii 
there has been any specific rdKgi^ 

mODL SCDOD mS- I fff ffH 
CMCB p OOIli ID O ro c r id 

Bui uuoulu ufu anUtfut 
geMes..Jwtt U • aeeg et 2-1 


^ can chaHei^ 
performance of any 
other gommmmf^ 


Karnataka chi^ minister Ramakrishna Hegde 
feds that his government has dorie well, 
despite die obstades 



tegbag iesOeet 
Thn when someone nudms an 
devdion against somebody, should 
we shoot that peraon? There must 
be some method. No odier go v ern- 
nent Im such ah etfectivA Lok 
Ayukta Act, easept Kenda which has 
now made an anprovement And, 
ecturly t am going to amend the Lok 
Ayukta Act now. 

DegsnthMtgowreheafbmnla 
Aim tuiuft WlOk Ma MOpfAi? 

It is not proper on nqr part to cfaim 
tUs, but if diete had been any 
impressioe that die popularily had 
gone down, that was proved falae: 
whether in Bteur, Brar, Gidberga, 
aiqr dbtrkt nsoendiy, I went to 
CMtanagahitr there atm. In Bjjapur 
dty, 1 1^ fhe.Caogres8(D MLA in 
my car; He was so surprised, he 
conkhrt he^ teffing me (diat only) 
Ifrl GaoSti mad to draw such 
crowds 

Beene Is telUng efgen ea e 
eendldeie^ iar Pabae MInbtsr 

*'%at wae umecesnufly xiiBed in 
thepnae. Somanyartk^ abine- 
tiniee even edhmhds were wrilten. 
Tbit apoft (ddngs) becauae too 
niiicb pubficity te.dso not good. 
'8e»m goat wdsged It »eng h. 

I woidd'be hypocritical if I aaU I 
dUnt ‘But I ham never aspired for 
my po it ici f p op H ion n niy w* 
inidliihm get then, B gen 
'gm net augituig kt geUtkad 
ge miaa f 

. leminpaldCB.iimnnottol^t; 
m not enfier ptidN da wg\amL I 
vrisririf lioi'iMeiiQe ae a IriM. fanh' 
cneummnoai'.'ipmngm ma 
Aiid ate dnt, 'te afrit aeiidte - 
took dm. rmi n 
polwcc iiiGiriimo wub. 
OK tggdahtB IndL Blit 1 ' 

' IUm I - 

. Wt Wgtm eU •< was. 


my knowledge. I heard it over the 
radio. Then again I was aSked to 
become general aeoetary... 

OnesganeaelnpeawrUuugh, 
gen are good et co n aoUd at i n g. 
Yon era adss goad at daetmatlng 
gsnrOjppaalilen,Jtaeentht> Beve 
Getsda ten nentndiaed. 

Am I reaponsiUe for that? If 1 
considar somebody as my enemy, 
sinoe I heppen to be in politics 
not fai the sarvodhya movement, I 
have to tal» care of my party and 
government And if tey do some- 
tliaig then I have to do somediing in 
return. At least to protect the in- 
terest of my patty and govenmwnt 
Be, new mere ft aaabsdg? Ex- 
esgt psrhags Jenerdhen 
Pesjeag. 

Poofary IcoateaptaousBi- 
Yen ere net eenssaned elbead 
Peat/ergT 

Needs wllli Deve Oewda In 
happier Uime 



MMSkV JlMir INi 




FOCUS 


1 ^ oMUdr jpoqjkr SB « man 
of cpHieqMecibe. < 

fti/ffft 11^ Hj f Hiffeitnl ptif" 

Uai 9be .ffMiiiAB tm mU 
M«f bt.'lu» mmuthb^ MmiAf 
■«tm0 tfiwtth VJ*. Sbigh. H9» 
, Jlrt wif ft IIMr -fMft MNiMiMtiM 

OlftdMcInMiwit has taken-iilace. It 
.flaqr look Ike a aOnI devenpineiit, 
btttkiOnemtiideaaaigniksnit And 
Hn^ ia ftnr dUfereot poitical gnvvs 
tevio-OQme together. Wewooldliam 
ttced it if die Lok Dal(S) and the Lok 
DalCBIk die two regional partiea, the 
AOT end the Tdn^ DMam, would 
haae joined. It W8B not possible. But, 
at teat these four have come 
together. I have said it is the begnv 
aivofdieheginii^ I didn’t give it 
angr eoaggented importance. It has 
started the process of consolidation 
of the Opposition. 

A dedmaUd OtpaaUloH. 

Decknated but now it can be put 
ri^ 

Wktd mahn gou teel opU- 
rniithf 

L You see, V.P. Si^ has a foOow- 
’ng; he has shown, in UP and Bihar. 
A^ die Lok (A) is the biggest 
group in the lejftlatute bi UP. The 
Congresses) has some podmts. And 
once we start warfcmft it is possible 
that die other two groups (AGP and 
TOP) may join. 

B'kntft gear Awnik nsBessHunf 
ofrJ». SUighT 

V.P. Singh has certain limitationB, 
no doubt 

Wbnf oiw fkavf 

Bb greatest liitttatioa is Us very 
reeSnt aissociadon with Rajiv (landU 
.tllid the govemment of India. 
PtohiM dot is the greatest weak- 
nodii But one .thing must be admit- 
tdd. Todayhe is conaideied not onb 
as an hone s t pottkian hot also an 
aggrievedpolddan, totbesenaethat 
our p^fche b sudi that vdien one ia 
naoved kom nposidon of power 
there b aiane tqmipediy. . 

‘\9dt kne ke Mf ftef fkef egm- 
■ j pni mrt ^Nfting |y the recent 
mittiiine in JUi TiiOtBBf 

WW— CilhA S-SV- 

^tie A>iiiic gacuipg- gie aame puDn> 
tlib.dwee.of pnmifr 
, . ^.taMjfap'gwkMs.wto.jp it^ 

.'.in mffwgn Yauig ne 



' s SV^ -*S- - 

.aB’ ■ maflU. '.UBDBBB 


At the same time, crorea of rupees 
are being spent on salaries and other 
benefits for 35 ministers, ziHa fmshad 
presidents and 78 corporation chairmen, 
llie chief minister spent a busy Decem- 
ber orchestrating a grand Soviet festival 
in Karnataka (see News) allegedly 
sjpending more than Rs 1 crore. At the 
time of going to press, Hegde is away in 
Goa, inaugurating a Karnataka cultural 
festival in that tiny nei^bouring state. 

Inevitably, a peripatetic chief minis- 
ter’s frequent absences from the state 
have left their mark, not only on the 
fiscal and developmental scene, but also 
in the administrative arena. To the 
common man, corruption in the five- 
year-old Janata govemment, which 
started off on a commitment to Values’ 
in politics, lias reached an all-time high* 
Fortunately for them, however, those in 
power are benefidaries of public cynic- 
ism towards political corruption. People 
do not question common irregularities. 
Ironically, however, criticism has come 
from within the Janata Party itself. A 
section of the legislators started a cam- 
paign eight months ago to weed out 
corruption and redeem the party in the 
public eye, at least in time for the next 
elections. At that time, these disgrun- 
tled elements seemed dangerous, even 
threatening. They went in appeal against 
the cliief minister and some of his 
colleagues to the Janata Party president 
Chandra Shekhar expressing concern 
that their govemment had moved away 
from its tracks, that t' e value-based 
govemment had forg t*: m its values, 
and that corruption and inefficiency had 
become the administration’s bywords. 

T oday, however, the reformists and 
dissidents are still awaiting any 
change. But the threat they once posed 
seems to have dissipated. Certainly, the 
small issues will once again come up 
during the fifth anniversai^ stock-taki^ 
sessions. But the campaign has lost its 
edge. It seems almost as thou^ the 
campaigners themselves have accepted 
the inevitability of political atrophy. 

The five-year-old Janata govemment 
has other problems on the pi&tical front, 
besides internal dissension. The Con- 
gressCI), for the first time since the 
Moily tape episode destroyed its credi- 
bility in 83-84, shows signs of regroup- 
ing itself, unc^r Janardhan Popiary. 
Though some party stalwarts dislike the 
KPCCd) president intensely, they have 
accept^ the imperative of burying old 
hatd^s. And for the first time, the end 
of the dark tunnel to the next elections 
can be seen. For those who have arrived 
at the condusion that the Congressd) 
and the Janata are only birds of a feather, 
the much taOced-about *third force’ in 


Karnataka politics has raised its tiny but 
defiant head. On 21 December, the 
firactious Rajya Raitha Sangha which has 
been on a collision course with the Janata 
govemment, gathered thousands of 
green-capped farmers in Hubli, to inau- 
gurate a party called the Kannada De- 
sha. The party may amount to nothing, 
of course, since it consists of groups as 
varied as the Artists and Writers Guild 
and the Raj Kumar Fan’s Association. 


Crifldsin conii^^ 
iranicrilfcoiMfitimwilM 
Imli My. A Mdion of Ihe 
lo|lilrtomlirtBJiciiiipif|B 

O^mllKinufSI^IO WMilOin 

eomyiioftnMIlwIliraittl^ 

oncopooodoooiMtoliivo 

dbojipomd 


But if the farmers wing of the party 
takes a toehold, it will plough into the 
same vote bank that the Janata has relied 
on: the middle to rich peasants. At the 
same time, the new party is appealing to 
the dangerous spring of regionalism that 
even the chief minister has detected of 
late. Kannada Desha wants primacy for 
the people and language of the state. 

So, the five years of Janata rule have 
ended in an assortment of problems and 
challenges. On the more positive side, 
the Janata’s proudest achievements have 
been in providing drinking water and 
electricity to most of the state’s villages, 
and in actually executing the Panchayat 
R^ Act: both of which even Congress(l) 
critics accept as commendable. Also, 
recently, the. govemment has at last 
tackled the contentious capitation fee 
issue, which has generated bitter critic- 
ism. From the next academic year, no 
college will be allowed to collect capita- 
tion fees, a promise which the Janata 
govemment had made way back in ’83. 
For 1988, the govemment has also 
chalked up an ambitious plan to provide 
low income housing in both the urban 
and rural low income sectors. 

But all that may still not be enough. 
The Janata govemment soon has to go 
back to the people for a mandate, in the 
municipality elections, which have just 
been post^ned to die middle of next 
year, and in the national elections, the 
timing of which depends on the Gandhi 
govemment. Given that relatively smaU 
window of time, the Janata has to pull 
itself up by its bootstrap, as some of its 
own partymen admit, in order to do a 
repeat performance at the hustings. 
MiM Hlehanliffangalora 




51 




NEWS 


Fairfax: The plotthickens 


j Ali Siddiqui comes to 
Rajiv Gandhi's defence 
by claiming he has 
evidence against Michael 
Hershman 

Every time Rajiv Gandhi 
.tries to prove that his is a 
well-run, clean govem- 
ment composed of honest 
meritocrats, some sleazy 
*friend of the family' 
HHHKh crawls out of the wood- 
work to prove him wrong. Unfortunately 
for the Prime Minister, the latest 
'friendly' intervention has come at a time 
when, after the lliakkar-Natarajan Re- 
port, the Fairfax issue is being oCGcially 
regarded as 'settled*. 

At centrestage is Ali Siddiqui, a for- 
mer Sanjay Gandhi chamcha and against 
whom, detractors allege, criminal 
charges are pending. Despite his 
alleg^y shady record, Siddiqui has 
hovered around the periphery of the 
Gandhi circle because of his Mendship 
with Mohammed Yunus (Rajiv's 'Yunus 
chacha) and his son Adil Shai^ar (whose 
release from an American prison, Rajiv 
secured 

Now, says Siddiqui, he has sensation- 
al information about Faiito — a claim 
that has been angrily countered by 
Michael Hershman, in his own way as 
proficient a publidty-seeker as Siddiqui. 
While Siddiqui's statements on the sub- 
ject are largely incoherent, this is what 
he seems to be trying to say: 

•l^t he had met Hershman in 
Washington and offered him five million 
dollars as fee to write to the Thakkar- 
Natanyan Commission and clear the air 
of all controversy. He was interested in 
the Fairfax enquiry since he had incrimi- 
nating evidence against Reliance Indus- 
tries and after a pooling of information 
with Fairfax, could indict the guilty 
persons. 

•That Michael Hershman confessed 
to him about his meetii^ with V.P. 
Singh which took place in the finance 
ministry. Later the Fairfax chief and th^ 
finance minister were in touch f ref 
telephone. In the light of this, V.P. 
Sin^ was likely to be called to a [ 
Washington court to depose in the case | 




filed against Fairfax by Lateef Khan, 
president of the World Non-resident 
Association. 

•'Fhat during the course of the inves- 
tigations, Michael Hershman had ^1- 
lected information about 34 Indians who 
had committed FERA (Foreign Ex- 
change Regulation Act) violations. 
Hershman had, however, found nothing 
against Rajiv Gandhi, his wife or any of 
their relatives. For his investigations 
Hershman had visited both Switzerland 
and Italy. 

•That Siddiqui had not supplied the 
above information to the Thakkar- 
Natarajan Commission because he was 
prevented by /ndran Express proprietor 
Ramnath Goenka and Ram jethmalani 
from doing so. Now, he would Iflce to see 
the Indian Express owner behind bars. 

Denials to Siddiqui's claims came 
almost immediately. V.P. Singh stuck to 
his oft-repf 'r^ed claim of never having 
met. Hexshman. A retraction from 
■fl^lflington capie from Gordon McKay, 
Iglaj^gt^we-president, who dial- 
lengft’^iPmqui to free a lie detector test 


as they in the Fairfax group were 
prepared to do so. 'Fhe veracity of 
Siddiqui’s claims, he said, would be 
known once the case opens in Washing- 
ton. With everybody denying anything 
that Siddiqui had said, the field was left 
to the critics of the man who had no 
focus standi to conunence a parallel 
investigation into the Reliance affair or 
the appointment of Fairfax. 

The severest diatribe came from 
S. Jaipal Reddy, general secretary of the 
Janata Party, with whom Siddiqui had 
crossed swords earlier. When Siddiqui 
shifted from Hyderabad to the capital, he 
left behind him a trail of police cases, 
some of which are still being investi- 
gated by the central crime unit there, 
Reddy said. The cases which had been 
the subject matter of debates in the 
Assembly included those of Siddiqui 
cheating Middle East job seekers to the 
tune of Rs 50 lakhs tlurough his A1 Zam 
Zam Travel Agency. He went on to 
allege that it was with the help of the 
Prime Minister that the then chief minis- 
ter T. Anjiah had instructed the police to 
stall the prosecution. 

Said the Janata leader to Sunday: 
"Siddiqui can never hide his background 
and I have raised his scandals several 
times in the Assembly. What is shocking 
is how such people can still be used by 
the powers that be.” It is obvious, he 
said in a statement, that the Prime 
Minister could get a clean chit from such 
dubious sources as Bofors or Ali Sid- 
diqui. 

Siddiqui appears to be a man of many 
parts; a prolOk writer of books on the 
Gandhi family and a leader in the Urdu 
liter^ scene. He is believed to be 
running a number of front companies, 
aipong them the travel agency. In 1984, 
he started the Indira Gandhi Computer 
Company with Adil Sharyar yhich is 
offididly described as a branch of the 
Aalam Urdu Conference of which he is 
the president. What was the Urdu 
Conference official doing in a software 
programming centre? Siddiqui is unable 
to explain. 

His resettlement in Delhi was 
obviously to wish away his past in 
Andhra Pradesh, and today sycophancy 
is his only claim to proximity to the 
Gandhi frn^y. AD that emerges from his 
latest gimmick is that perhaps the 
wheeDng-dealing in the Faiifrx case is 
frr fixxn over. 

RMh UMMmrDeM 


62 


•UNBAY 10-16 JMUwy IM 



The storm over a lettei 



The Congress(I) charges the 
CPI(M) mouthpiece, Desher 
Katha, of forg.ry 

The news was sensational 
but the fact that it had 
apppeared in Desher 
Katha, the mouthpiece of 
the CPI(M)-led govern- 
ment in 1 ripura, marred 
its credibility. Neverttie- 
less, the publication of the story tha; *^he 
Youth Congressd) chief, Birajit Sinha. 
had written to the underground Tribal 
National Volunteers’ (TNV) supremo, 
Bijoy Hranjikhawl, assuring him of the 
“latest deployment details of security 
forces*’ in the state and a few boxes of 
bullets before the Assembly elections, 
alongwith a photocopy of Sinha’s letter, 
raised a storm in political circles in 
Agartala. The story was later reprinted 
by Ganashakti, the West Bengal CPI(M) 




Sjiid Sinha; “'Hicy say that the verac- 
ity of the letter will be examined. TTien 
how can they carry the letter and 
defame me? ITie CIM(M) has also 
started using the letter as a poll issue, 
writing out shigans on the wall, on its 
basis. ” Meanwhile, a handwriting expert 
of the CID who has compared Birajit 
Sinha’s signature with the one on the 
letter has also expressed doubts about 
Its genuineness. Said Pijus Biswas, the 
Youth CongresstD’s lawyer, “We will 
first establish that it is a forgery, a 
criminal offence. 'Hien >ve will establish 
it was used for defamatory purposes.” 

Obviously, the Congress(I) is delight- 


ACPI(M) slogan 
protesting 
against the letter 
allegedly written 
by (Inset) Birajit 
• Sinha: graffiti war 



daily on 12 November, 1987. 

It did not take long for Sinlia to lash 
out at the story, who charged the editor 
of Desher Katha, Gautam Das, of “in- 
tentional forgery aimed at defaming my 
public image”. Incidentally, Desher 
Katha which has rarely printed a letter of 
denial by any Opposition politician, did 
publish Sinha’s version in its 19 Novem- 
ber edition. However, the editor’s state- 
ment that the “chief minister has asked 
Tripura’s director-general of police, 
H.C. Jatav, to investigate the veracity of 
the letter”, was the indication that the 
Congressd) had been waiting for. Sens- 
ing that the CPKM) organ was on the 
defensive, Sinha and his men went on 
the offensive, and the Youth Congressd) 
coordinator of North Tripura, Satyajit 
Chakraborty, filed a suit. 


ed that it has found a stick with which to 
beat the CPKM). specially as the elec- 
tions are just round the comer. As for 
the CPKM), some party members who 
doubt that the letter is genuine, feel tliat 
the leaders have fallen to tne “bait” 
thrown at them by some anti Sinha 
Congressd) leaders and have become 
victims of “Congressd) infighting”. 

And even as the editor of I)csher 
Katha seeks refuge behind the sub- 
judice clause, Congressd) leaders, like 
the firebrand Ratan Chakrabarty, do not 
mince their words while criticising the 
CPKM). “If the government is sure that 
the letter is true, they should arrest 
Sinha.” declared Chakrabarty. The Con- 
gressd) is not likely to let the CPKM) off 
the hook, at least till the polls are over. 
SuWr BhMimlc/Afwtils 


Turning 
a blind eye 

J. B. Patnaik has failed to 
appoint a Lokpal 19 months 
after the death of Justice 
Patro 


J. B. Patnaik has often 
fleclared that he would 
root out corruption and 
probe the charges of cor- 
ruption levelled against 
his governniont's tunc' 
tionaries. But his state ^ 
ments have always been treated with 
the disdain they deserve. For how ct)uld 
a chief minister, who according to 
many has a dubious political record, 
expect others U) believe him? When 
Patnaik did institute a statutory (office — 
that of the Lokpal to look into these 
charges, it was predicted with unfailing 
accuracy tliat this was just another hoax. 
And when even after 19 months since 
the death of the Lokpal, Balaknshna 
Patro. the chkt mini.sler has made no 
effort to appoint another Lokpal, it 
seemed to be the logical outcome in 
Patnaik’s scheme of things. 

In tact the appoinlmenl of justice 
Balakrishiia Palm, a retired judge of the 
Orissa High Court, to the post of Lokpal 
in 1983. was widely criticised and even 
challenged in the High Couil. It was 
alleged tliat Patro continued U) ov^-cupy a 
position in the defence departnient as an 
arbitrator of cont factor ‘ j’ claims, even 
after being being appointed l,nkpal. The 
matter was referred to a larger bench 
but before the issue could be taken up. 
Justice Patro died of heart ailment. 

Patnaik has consislenlly warded off 
(*mbarrassing questions relating to 
charges of corruption levelled against 
him or his ministers, with the request 
that they be referred to the Lokpal yet. 
slrangeh , he has not appointed anyone 
to replace the late Lokpal. Moreover, 
the activities of the Lokpal’s office, 
during Patro’s reign, also remain 
shrouded in mystery. The .secretary to 
the Lokpal, Raghunath Misro, has been 
instructed by none other than Patnaik 
himself to treat “everything relating to 
the office of Lokpal as confidential” 
Even an inquiry about the number of 
cases that have been filed or disposed of 
is met with a stony silence. 

Sarada P. HandMBhubanaawar 



•UNMV JMr/IIU 


53 





Atateofintimidatioii 


Traders in GuwahaA protest 
against the money-grabbing 
waysoftheAGP 

Is the Asom Gana 
Parishad government ex- 
torting money from trad- 
ers? And if they refiise to 
toe the AGFs line, are 
they being harassed and 

even put behind bars? G. 

L. Harlalka. president of the Kamnip 
Chamber of Commerce (KCC) and a 
prominent foodtgrains' wholesaler in 



aL Harlalka: vldlmlaad 


Guwahati, alleged that he had been 
victimised for not giving into the de- 
mands of the AGP's chief whip. Joynath 
Shanna. who had allegedly asked him for 
a donation of Rs 10 lakhs for the first 
general convention of the AGP. sche- 
duled to be held at Mongoldoi in Janu^ 
1988. Enraged by the pressure tactics, 
the traders of Guwahati even called a 
bandb on 30 November in Fancy Bazar, 
the commercial hub of Guwahati, and 
intensified, their protest by calling an 
all-Guwahati banttti on 2 December. 

Accon^ to Harlalka. the AGP has 
been trying to intimidate him since 2 
March. 1987. when a team headed by 
the district commissioner (DC), 
rup. and coniprisiqg supplies offid&s^ 
inspectors and an executive magistrabr.. 
inspected the wholesaler's godown. 
which he has sub-let to a cooperative 


society, the Panbazar Grahak Samavay 
Bhanto. 

The next day the team returned to 
search the gddown and this time confis-* 
Gated 791 tins of imported rapeseed oiL 
On 5 March. HarlaJka was prosecuted 
under Section 7 of the Essential 
modities Act for having violated Clause 
10 of the Assam Trade Artkte (Lioens- 
ing and (^trol) Order. 1^, which 
stipulates that certain duinges should be 
made in the licence of an owner, who 
sub-lets godowns. The office-bearers of 
the society sen t a letter to the DC on the 
same day {heading that Harlalka had no 
claim on the stocks as the tins had been 
stacked there in the name of the society. 
But since the prosecution was already 
under way. the society had to approadi 
the district sesskms court 

But the matter did not end there. In 
August the godown was raided again and 
the stocks seized. On 26 September, 
the officials of the Bureau for bivestiga- 
tion of Economic Offences (BlEO) once 
again swooped down on HarlaUca’s 
^own. A case was registered against 
Harlalka and three members of the 
society. Harlalka was out on bail, but on 
30 November he was remanded to 
judicial custody. After an hour of routine 
investigation, he was released which 
convinced him that the arrest was made 
on "flimsy grounds and was politically 
motivated". 

Harlalka did have a reason for his 
contention: on 21 August, he says, he 
was telephoned by Joynath Sharma, who 
demand^ that Harlalka supply baby 
food tins for his constituency. Sipajhar. 
and a sum of Rs 10 lakhs for the general 
convention of the AGP. 

A few days later, just prior to his 
arrest HarlaOca claims that he was sum- 
moned. first by AGP MP Saifiiddin 
Ahmed, and later by Joynath Sharma. 
Sharma even order^ him to withdraw 
his allegations, he claims. Sharma, of 
course, denies having asked Harlalka for 
money. 

But this is not the first time that the 
AGP and the numerous organisations 
owing allegiance to the AGP have been 
accused of extorting money. This time, 
however, by presenting a united front, 
the KCC and its support have earn^ 
a major concession fixxn the AGP. gov- 
ernment. The minister of state for 
industries, R. N* Kalita,has assured in a 
- written cr^ittnunique tiiat '*no forcible 
. cotectkm of donations shall be allowed 
the police will take, action against 
auA tVifaWons" m future. 



oo 

c/5 



Halph Lemer: oonlnivereUildMlQn 


An edifice of 
controversy 

The government is in a fix 
over building the Indira . 
Gandhi National Centre for 
Arts 



The project was jinxed 
from the start. When 
Prime Minister Rajiv 
Gandhi announced on 19 
November 1985. that an 
international competition 
would be held to select 
the architectural design fur the Indira 
Gandhi National Centre of Arts 
(IGNCA). the idea attracted a lot of flak. 
Many Indian architects felt that organis- 
ing an international competition for a 
building that is supposed to symbolise 
Indian culture would be unfair, both to 
the project as well as to the Indian 
participants. The foreigners would 
naturally have an advantage over the 
Indians who are restricted by meagre 
facilities and a paucity of funds. 

Their fears were proved correct when 
Ralph Lemer, an American, bagged the 
prestigious Rs 10-lakh award, giving rise 
to another controversy that rules were 
bent and stipulations ignored to favour 
him. It was also pointed out that Lemer 
did not have even a single major building 
to his credit. Now. it seems, be may not 
have even this one. as the IGNCA is,yet 
to sign a contract with him. thoun^ it 
was supposed to do so within a year. As 
one year has passed since the award was 


54 


■IMIMV 1»»1S JiMitry ms 







Iht priM-wImiliig modal for IlM IGNCA cbmiMti: vrtU II tM tiM Ng^ 


announced, the Kuvemment may have to 
pay Lemer another Rs 10 lakhs as 
compensation — a paltry sum, consider- 
ing that Lemer was entitled to a com- 
mission of five per cent on Rs 60 crores, 
the esiimaled cost of the project. 

Why the KiNCA failed to si^ a 
contract with the American architect 
remains shrouded in mystery, as both 
IGNCA secretary Dr Kapila Vatsyayan 
and Ralph Lemer are not available for 
comment. However, it has been learnt 
that one of the reasons for the stalemate 
is adverse press publicity for Lemer 
abroad. 

A hi^'h-powered international jury 
comprising James Stiriin^ (Diiitcd King- 
dom), Kumihiko Maki (Japan), Olufemi 
Majektxlummi (Nigeria). A.P. Kanvinde, 
B.V. Doshi, Pupul Jayakar and Kapila 
Vatsyayan (India), had adjudged Ler- 
ner’s design as the best in a competition 
for which 926 applications were re- 
ceived, 684 competitors registered and 
194 design solutions were submitted for 
assessment. 

The process was set in motion by 
Rsyiv Gandhi two years ago when he 
launched the IGNCA, on the 68th birth 
anniversary of the late Mrs Indira Gan- 
dhi. The centre would comprise five 
departments: Kalanidhi, a division which 
would cater for the national information 
system, house a data bank for the 
humanities and the arts as well as a 
reference library; Kalakosha, a division 
for research studies which would also 
help, in the publication of glossaries, 
fundamental texts and encyclopaedia cm 
the arts; Janapada Sampada, specialising 
in folk and tribal arts, core study collec- 
tion, and facilities for ' documentation, 
dissemination and demonstration or dis- 
play; Kala Darshana, a section to pro- 


vide forums and venues for creative 
expression and exchange; and Sut- 
radhara,' the nodal division for policy 
making, administrative coordination and 
servicing for the entire IGNCA complex. 

This conceptual model was heavily 
laden with a cultural view and symbolism 
tliat went back to the ancient periods of 
our history. But the details provided to 
the competitors about the proposed 
building made it abundantly clear that the 
promoters of the IGNCA were more 
interested in acquiring a building which 
would merge well with the city plan and 
the buildings of Edwin Lutyens' New 
Delhi rather than conforh to the concep- 
tual model. The char««.ii ristic features 
of Lutyen's architecture are reflected in 
the formally laid out axial movement 
networks, strongly articulated terminal 
vistas and a low-density, low-rise 
physical fabric of the capital. Lemer’s 
mc^el seems to have fulfilled all these 
criteria. 

The IGNCA authorities did not sign a 
contract with Lemer, even though he 
visited India twice during the past one 
year, and now it seems likely that 
Gautam Bhatia may be called upon to 
take up the project. 

It is said that Lemer was unable to 
find a resident architect who could 
supervise such a huge project. Also, 
Lemer wanted to be paid half of his 
commiasion even before the project was 
started and the IGNCA was reluctant to 
hand over Rs one crore as the work had 
not yet commenced. In the absence of 
any official clarification on the matter, it 
is doubtful that the target of completing 
the first and the second phase by 1990 
and the third phase by 1993 will be met. 

iMnoeep iMHiNWrfiipiv iiwe 


An ailing 
hospital 

Jayaprakash Narayan’s 
dream, the Jayaprabha 
Hospital, has become a 
hotbed of controversy 

First it was Jayaprakash 
Narayaii who died, llien 
it was his dream wliich 
died. And now, it is the 
institution he had hoped 
would care for the poor, 
treat them for cancer and 
..ts, which is dying a slow 
death. The Jayaprabha Hospital and 



SR 




jnw.a. 




8an|ssva Rsddy laying ths foundation tiofit 
of tho JayapffBblia HoapKal 

Research Centre, the foundation stone 
for which was laid in 1979 by the then 
President, Neelam Sanjeeva Reddy, has 
now been reduced to an arena for petty 
politics. 

'Fhough the hospital has been a hotbed 
of controversies ever since its inception, 
the recent round of trouble started with 
the news that at a hush-hush meeting in 
New Delhi, the general body, the board 
of management and the board of trus- 
tees of the hospital had been reconsti- 
tuted. Not only were several prominent 
members of the committee, including 
the trustee and treasurer, Jabir Husain, 
and the secretary of the board of man- 
agement, Dr C.P. 'Fhakur, dropped but 
also the chairman of the board of trus- 
tees. Chandrashekhar, was asked to 
make way for the new incumbent, L.P. 
Singh, a former union home secretary. 


. tUmAVlO-liJMaryiaM 


55 




Evidentiy, Hus^, a former health 
minister in the Janata ^vemment. and 
'Fhakur are up in anns against the 
high-handed manner in which they have 
been dropped, pointing out that they 
were not informed of the meeting. 'Fhe 
whole exercise, they allegediviolated the 
norms of democratic functioning. 

But non-democratic functioning is not 
the only crime that the Jayaprabha 
Hospital authorities have been accused 
of. It is also guilty of waging a caste war, 
if JP's trusted secretary, Sachidanand, is 
to be believed. As he pointed out, the 
authorities were violating the very ideals 
for which jl’ lived and dit^ by promoting 
one particular conununity; the Kayas- 
thas. According to liim 90 per cent of the 
hospital staff belongs to this community, 
and also four out of the seven trustees 
who have been newly appointed are 
Kayasthas. Sachidanand, who has pro- 
tested against the removal of lliakur 
and Husain, also blames the director of 
the centre. Dr R.V.P. Sinha and his 



(Uft) Dr C.P. Thakur and JaMr Husain: 
vtctlma of politicking 


followers for this state of affairs. 

Perhaps the quick succession with 
which officials have been replaced under 
Dr Sinha's regime is an indication of the 
troubles that have dogged the hospital. 
Initially, differences between Sinha and 
the founder-secretary Jai Narayan Sahay 
led to Sahay’s removal and the subse- 
quent appointment of Dr Thakur. Later, 
the treasurer S.P. Sinha too resigned 
following differences with Dr Sinha. 

Meanwhile the newly-appointed chair- 
man, L.P. Singh, finds lumself in a 
strange situation. While he was himself 
inducted following the secret meeting at 
Delhi, he has had to look into the 
allegations that the reconstitution of the 
boai^ of management and trustees was 
"illegal and unconstitutional". At a meet- 
ing called by L.P. Singh on 29 Novem- 
ber, in Patna, it was decided that the 
removal of Jabir Husain and Thakur 
would not be ratified since it was found 
that a trustee cannot be removed un^sjir 
he resigns voluntarily. 

Falxan Ahmad/I^lw 


Hegde’s culture blHz 


The chief minister spares no 
expense for the Soviet festival 
in Bangalore 

As the red dust of the 
Soviet festival settles 
down over Bangalore, 
one man is surely beam- 
ing— Karnataka chief 
minister Ramakrishna 
Hegde. As chairman of 
the state level organising committee of 
the festival, the chief minister took 
personal care to ensure that the show 
was a grand one. Cost was no bar. And 
Bangalore simply could not have enough 
of the Soviets. 

The clique of cidture vultures flocking 
around the chief minister thiidcs a coup 
has been pulled off over Madras, tradi- 
tionally the culture capital of the south. 
Bangalore was chosen as the major 
southern venue of the Festival of USSR 
in India. As one aide of the chief minister 
put it, “The credit must go entirely to 
Ramakrishna Hegde." From the super- 
quick response of the CM's secretariat 
in late 1986 to the Union ministry of 
human resources’ proposal to organise a 
major show at Bangalore, to the unpre- 
cedented arrangements made in the 
city, Hegdc’s hand was in evidence. And 
it has cost the state a pretty sum. 

If it was air-conditioning that the 
vigorous dancers of Igor Moissev’s en- 
semble wanted at the Ravindra 
Kalashetra, Hegde was there to provide 
it. The power supply from the state 


electricity board is not to be trusted, so 
a generator was installed. All this at a 
totri cost of Rs 40 lakhs. 

Mere generators would not do at the 
Chinnaswamy Cricket Stadium with a 
connected load of 3,000 KW for the 
opening ceremony. Hegde sanctioned 
the installation of a sub-station on the 
ground and two independent power 
supply lines were connected to it, to 
ensure uninterrupted supply iq case one 
line failed! Cost: Rs 50 lakhs. 

The receding drought, inner-party 
politics and criticism of the omnibus 
ministry were all old news, for the CM 
was culturally preoccupied. The finance 
department reportedly had standing in- 
structions to release funds immediately 
for any work connected with the festival. 
If the expenditure has already crossed 
the staggering Rs 1-crore mark, the 
amount of official time and manpower 
expended on the extravaganza is incal- 
culable. 

But the cultural clique is happy, for 
the iestival was a hit. As the chief 
minister's aide gushed, “How much our 
chief minister has done for culture." 

To start with, theatre-goers were 
stunned to see Hegde himself driving 
down to the Chowdaiah Memorial HaU 
for an evening’s play. Used as they were 
to his predecessor, R. Gundu Rao, for 
whom it was not uncommon to book the 
entire theatre to see a feature film with 
his family, the sight of Runakrishna 
Hegde sipping tea at the lounge during 
the interval warmed their hearts. The 
intellectuals spread the word: “He is a 
cultured man." 

But the man did not restrict fiimself to 




•UNMVl»-l6J«iuifyl«ll 




news:; 



R.K. Hegdt: sparing no •xp«nM 


mere symbolisms. The directorate of 
Kannada and culture, the agency to 
dispense culture to the masses, which 
started in 1976 with a modest budget of 
Rs 60 lakhs, found a staggering increase 
in its allocation: Rs 560 lakhs in 1986-87. 
Culture was suddenly big-time. 

'lliat brings up the most ironical 
aspect of Hegde's cultural excesses, 
llie Janata government has presided 
over the worst cultural drou^t in the 
‘State since independence. No longer 
does Karnataka have a leading or even 
significant role in the theatre movement, 
new cinema or anything cultural. 

The windfall that the sundry cultural 
organisations find in the new-rich 
directorate also tells the sad story that 
the disbursement of grants has been 
arbitrary. At no time was the world of 
culture so close to men in power. The 
stalwarts of the Kannada stage find, 
themselves with embarrassing frequen- 
cy on the third floor of Vidhana Soudha. 

But the show goes on. The ministers 
of culture, past and present, Jeevaraj 
Alva and M.P. Prakash, with affecta- 
tions to a cultural background, are 
Hegde’s ambassadors of culture. 

The curious spm-off of the chief 
minister's predilections has of course 
been the warm patronage by the Centre. 
Centre-state relations could not be more 
cordial on the issue of culture. Union 
minister Margaret Alva was "extremely 
happy with the arrangements'* made for 
ths Soviet festival, depriving the local 
Congressd) a stick to beat Hegde with. 

But will Hegde's new passbn get him 
votes? Perh^s not But it will be 
suffident if posterity would say, "He 
was a cultured man." 


A battle of nerves 


Raids by Indian and 
Burmese armies have put the 
insurgents on the defensive 


> 

O 

z 

LU 

o 

□C 

3 

LD 

Z 


The insurgents are on the 
run. But what has caused 
this sudden about-turn in 
the north-east border 
situation, which until re- 
cently was vexing not just 
New Delhi but n^bour- 


mg Rangoon too? The answer seems to 
lie in the headway made in diplomatic 
ties between the two countries. Be- 
sides. the informal agreement which 
already exists between the armies of the 
two countries, in the form of exchange 


KIA guerrillas on the run, as the troops 
took control of four of its stron^lds in 
the north-Burma region bordering Chi- 
na. The Indian army too has not been 
inactive. Recently, a column of its troops 
trekked 24 km inside Burmese territory 
to raid a NSCN hideout in Thalie village, 
but the Burmese authorities just looked 
the other way 

But it is in northern Burma that the 
troops have met with stiff resistance. 
Beiiig inaccessible, the region is overrun 
by a 8000-strong guerrilla force, owing 
allegiance to the and trained in the 
use of fire-arms. Moreover, the Bur- 
mese authorities too have little control 
over the goings-on in this region which 
perhaps the highest concentration of 



of intelligence on guerrilla movements, 
is hoped to be further strengthened with 
a formal agmment. The Indian Prime 
Minister’s visit to Rangoon too seems to 
have had a positive foll-out. 

It was during the former Burmese 
foreign minister’s visit to New Delhi in 
mid-1984 that the idea of cooperation 
between the armies of the two countries 
was firat mooted. R. Venkataraman, the 
then defence minister, wMehear^y 
approved of the deal. A visit by external 
a£^ minister Kburshid Alam Khan in 
1985 also helped the cause* 

The Burmese army, in recent times, 
has mounted at least three m^or cam- 
paigns against the Indian Naga fugitives 
and the Kachin guerrillas under the 
watchfol eyes of the Indian army. 

The, biggest-ever Burmese offensive 
was launched in May 1987, when nearly 
10,000 Burmese troops were involved in 
an operation to flush out the Kachin 
Independence Army (KIA) activists. 
The two-week-long operation had the 


guerrillas in the world. This 40,000 sq. 
km area houses the headquarters of 
insurgent groups such as Manipur's 
Peck’s Liberation Army fPLA) and the 
United National Liberation Front 
(UNLF). The NSCN too has sought 
refuge in this area. The Burmese insur- 
gents, on the other hand, have formed 
&eir bases in the eastern section of 
Burma. 

It is undoubtedly the Chinese connec- 
tion which has helped all these move- 
ments to flourish in the north-east. But 
now, military strategists in New Delhi 
feel that relations between the Chinese 
and the insurgent grouj^ have cooled off 
and this is the ri^^t time to launch an 
Indo-Burmese offensive. T9ie peace 
feelers being sent by the NSCN and the 
KLA are also pointers to the fact that 
the guerrillas have begim to feel the heat 
as they are hemmed in by the Indian 
army on one side and the Burmese on 
the other. 

Santanu Qhoah/Slllclfer 


aUNMY 10*19 JMMIV 1M0 


57 




Acting in self-defence 


Residents of Colaba in 
Bombay counter the drug 
and prostitution menace by 
hiring private security guards 


It is one big, bustling 
bazar. Be it export gar- 
ments or imported stuff 
tiiat one is looking for, or 
the more elusive hard 
like cocaine, mor- 
phine and LSD, or even a 
one-night stand, the labrynthfoe lanes in 
the stretch extending from the Prince of 
Wales Museum to Navy Nagar in south 
Bombay, baveitalL But the residents of 
the area are an unhappy lot: most of 



Perhaps the reason why the police 
and the residents have bera una^ to 
tackle the problem is that, as Navin 
Kumar, the president of the citizens 
committee, pdnts out, most of the 
buildings do not have any watch and 
ward staff, unlike cooperative societies, 
to keep out the anti-sodal elements. 
The tenants of 15-16 buildings have 
deckled to rectify . the situation and 
pooled in their resources to hire security 
guards on a 24-hour basts. 

But not everyone is optimistic that the 
citizens* group will succeed in bringing 
about a change in the situation. Critics of 
the scheme also point out that a parallel 
police force could also be misused by 
and-sodal groups to keep out rivals from 
their area of operation. 



OniQ addicts In Bombay: cause fof oonosfn 


them live as tenants in the multi- 
storeyed buildings and are forced to 
coexist with drug addicts and prostitutes 
who often rent a room for an evening. 

The drug nsenace has even driven the 
residents to take up the job of vigilantes 
after the Colaba Police's unsuccessful 
attempts at curbing it Said a member of ^ 
the Colaba-Cufie Parade Comnuttee, 
*The police officials are vigjlant, but 
they are helpless. They drive awa^ 
the addicts am prostitutes but 
minute they leave, these elements arb 
back.” 


A natimial daily even expressed con- 
cern in its columns where it was re- 
ported that some vigilmtes cruising 
along the roads of Colaba in a jeep were 
seen 'chasing* and 'whipping* drug- 
pushers. But Navin Kumar denies vehe- 
mantfy that thdr comnuttee is a pamM 
police force, fri frict he says, ithe 
committee has been formed with the full 
support of the Colaba Police. 

It is evideifil: that Kumar aixl the other 
area have been forced to 
measure in sheer desperaAkuL 



The revelry 
continues 


The Guest Control Order 
continues to be flouted by 
Ahmedabad's rich citizenry 

Lavish weddings are iiot 
just the preserve of a 
Madhavrao Sdndia or a 
S.P. Hindisa and this time 
it is neither Gwalior nor 
Bombay which has been 
witness to extravagant 
marriages but the capital of Gujarat, 
Ahmedabad. Despite the imposition of 
the Guest Control Order 1987 Ify the 
Amarsinh Chaudhary res^, in view of 
the severe drought situation in the state, 
the rich citizenry of Ahmedabad did not 
spare the expmse or the effort to see 
that their relatives got married in right 
royal style. 

Though the order, which stipulated 
that only 100 invitees would be peimit- 
ted at any feast, was imposed from 22 
September, 1987, few Ahmedabadis 
knew about its existence. For the first 
two months, people were not even 
aware of the fact that certain food items 
could not be served at wedding feasts. 
Later, of course, the food control de- 
partment did publish a list. But, then, 
people devis^ ways and means , of 
bypwing the order. 

While as many as 40,000 ooimles 
enterdd wedlock during the 45-day4ong 
marriage season in Ahmedabad, there 
were a few people belonging to the 
rich and upper middle-dass strata df 
society who were willing to go in for 
mass marriages or simple ceremonies. 
HaOhesh TrtvedkAftniBdMMl 



58 


tUSMVIO-^tejMNrylQM 







departHK 

hero 


Ravi Shankar in Madras 
on the madness that followed 
MGR’s death 


O n Christinas eve, MGR lay dead. 

And all of Madras went berserk. 
T^ey howled and beat their breasts, 
tore their hair and streamed along 
the streets chanting liis name like 
an incantation. Tlie roads of Madras city, the 
grounds of Ramavaram Gardens, Rajaji Hall and 
around, and later the sands of Marina had 
become an elegy, scripted with an unending flow 
of lamenting men and women. And later, they 
threw aside the excuse of mourning, and ram- 
paged the city like marauding Huns, looting and 
screaming. 

“MGR vazbkar they cried and shattered the 
window panes of shops. 

“MGR! Why have you left us?" they wailed, 
broke open shop windows and tried on new 
shoes and shirts. 

“MGR is eternal!" they thundered as they 
bombarded the glass windows of the LIC 
building, and tore up hoardings of other film- 
stars. 

“I-ong live MGR!” they screamed and forced 
open tlie shutters of liquor shops and drank 
deeply. 

They smashed traffic lights, leaving them 
looking like twisted sticks, for three days the 
roads wouldn't need any. They clambered on to 
the sbitue of MGR's long-time political rival and 
personal friend, Kalaingar Karunanidhi and dis- 
membered it with crowbars. Later, it looked like 
a surreal piece of sculpture, two twisted rods of 
reinforced metal raised in supplication, only the 
dhoU from the knees down remained. And 


•mRmtiUritie 

ffloumen cried and 
shattered the 
window panes of 
shops. miGR! Why 
have you left us?” 
they waled, broke 
open shop windows 
and tried on new 
shoes and 
shirts... 



aUNMVi^ItJunuufkK 


tthistrattont; RtviShtnkar 


59 





Lilir,ontliebiich 

wiiMtviiyMm 


crowdi Hbmti 
fhwMwtMifico 
tumid MMf. Mil hh 

vMi nw ■HH inv 

Iwlv VXIillHB wlul 

A1 ■>■ -i^A.a 

wii IMKII DHIDI 

mdHtoid going 


whenever the wind blew* there was the faint 
pungency of teargas, sometimes it smelt of 
gunsmoke. And Marudur Gopala Menon 
Ramachandran lay unmoying, a faint half smile on 
his lips, his closed eyes shielded by thick 
custom-made dark glasses, the leathery lines on 
his once handsome face smooth with make up, 
the thick fur-cap almost covering half his face. 
And around his deaf ears, the shouting streets of 
Madras were celebrating their lament. 

‘'Now what?” 1 asked Jayalalitha. 

She smiled a smile more youthful than her 
face, and looked at me with happy eyes. “The 
past is dead,” she said. 

The past had been dead for the last two years. 
MGR died a long death, and in the last months of 
his decay, the empire had begun to melt. Still 
power had vested his dying with strange forbid- 
ding, and the hatred between the pygmies in his 
party had not erupted. Now, it was not merely 
the streets which were full of chaos, the party 
itself was. They were gathering their strength, 
the shadow of their god had withdrawn. Kanina- 
nidhi, that sly maestro of Tamil Nadu politics in 
his tribute said that if it was not for MGR there 
would not have been any AlADMK. When I tried 
to track him down, the next day, he was in 
parley with the boss of the MGR Fan clubs. It is 
a fact that Karunanidhi has been in touch with 
many AlADMK heavyweights, including 
Veerappan. And now that Veerappan has a 
chance of takii^ over himself, with the majority 
of MLAs behind him, Karunanidhi is keeping 
quiet. The support of the Congress(l), which has 
64 MLAs, is assured for the time being to any 
AlADMK government 

“1 don’t want the AlADMK to break up,” 
Siv^i Ganesan said, “after aU I campaigned for 
MGR even in his own constituency. 1 am the 
only Congress leader who has canqiaigned for 
the AlADMK in all constituencies. My elder 
brother (MGR) trusted me that much.” 

“And if Jayalalitha doesn’t make it?” I asked 
mm. 

“She is our girl,” he said affectionatety, “she is 
another matter ^together.” 

“But what if the Party splits?” I asked, “will 
the Congress(I) support Jayalalitha or 
Veerappan?” 

Sivaji smiled mysteriously. 

J ut it looks as if the party is over. The dark 
horse. S. Ramachandran is the Centre’s 
favourite. R^iv Gandhi used to call him 
Ramachandiip Junior. But Kisnrianidhi is hoping 
for elect'^ nf Afid Veerappan becoming Chief 
Minister mig^ti$Nsdf in elections. When Mr 
Gandhi visited was considered 


significant that it was only Jayalalitha that he 
chose to greet and recognise. 

“The word has already been sent that the 
Centre would not stand for any government 
which does not include Jayalalitha or her candi- 
date,” a senior Coii^essman told me. 

“Will there be elections soon?” 1 asked a DMK 
leader. 

He hoped so. He was sure the Congress 
would tiy for elections, if there is not a 
Jayalalitha government in Madras. 

“Rajiv (jandhi is the DMK’s propaganda 
secretary.” a journalist said. 

Karunanidhi is playing a silent game. Most 
houses in Tamil Nadu, especially in the villages 
have framed pictures on their walls- -of Karuna- 
nidhi and the L'lT'E leader Pirabhakaran. 

“Isn’t unity possible between the AlADMK 
and the DMK?” Karunanidhi asked slyly. 

But which AlADMK is a question left un- 
answered by him — yet. 

“Only it wouldn’t be .AlADMK (Nedun- 
chezhian). Nedunchezhian is known by the 
deceptive name of Navalar. (All Tamil Nadu 
politicians have titles which are incongruous with 
their personalities. MGR, the most feudal of 
Chief Ministers was known as Makkal Tilakam, 
the adornment of the people, among other 
names like PuratcN ThaJaivar which means 
Revolutionary Leader ). Navalar Nedunchezhian 
is a small unhappy man. He looks at you with soft 
sad eyes. Navalar means one who makes waves 
with his tongue; an orator. But his speech is 
very confused. “I hope they all let me continue,” 
he said wistfully. 

Nedunchezhian doesn’t have a good mous- 
tache. So he has drawn over it with an eyebrow 
pencil. The effect is bizarre. He had dyed his hair 
a deep shiny black. That he had gone to get his 
hair dyed for the swearing-in ceremony raised 
many eyebrows. After MGR died, Nedun- 
chezhian was the only follower to have dyed for 
him. 

B ut all along, there was a sense of anti- 
climax, and irony. As word spread, people 
began to gather in the morning, at Ramavaram 
Gardens, the sprawling tree filM house of MGR 
to mourn. They shouted, 'MGR vazhkaP and 
'MGR is indestructible!” And when Rqjnikanth 
drove up, a section of the crowd started to 
shoot, “TTiafa/var Rajnikanth vazkhaV* Long live 
the leader Rajnikanth! They were beaten up by 
the rest of the crowd. 

And Jayalalitha who rushed to the house after 
she came to know of the death wasn’t let in. She, 
who knew all the entrances and stairways of the 
house well, found doors slammed in her face. 


eo 



SUNDAY SPECIAL 




Janaki knew them ♦'etter. 

But not to be outdone, she mana^fed to reach 
Rajsyi Hall and stand at the head of the body for 
hours and hours,the TV cameras trained on her. 
Many tried to get her away, but she held on to 
the bed he lay on, with persistent fingers. 

“Why don’t you get lost, you bitch?” someone 
shouted. 

Another grabbed her by the hair, and tried to 
pull her back. But she ^iled around with her 
elbows and was back clutching the bed. Janaki, 
MGR’s wife, was kissing his hands and sitting 
beside the body, lamenting with half-closed 
eyes. 

“My darling, my lord, you have left me,” she 
sang, “now where will I go.” She was wailing in 
Tamil! MGR and Janaki. both Malayalis, spoke 
Malayalam at home. But even in this hour of her 
widowhood with the TV cameras on her and the 
mourners filing past in endless numbers, she 
preferred to grieve in a language which was not 
her own. 

When the news spread, women stopped 
work, and wiped off the sindoor from their 
foreheads with their palms. With unbound hair, 
and vermilion visages, they moaned like celluloid 
dowagers. And Jayalalitha stood at the bier’s 
head, eyes modestly downcast and lips tremblmg 
with practised grief, the bindi large on her white 
forehead. 


“Who told you about his death?” I asked her. 

“A well-wisher rang me up,” she said. 

“Ironic, isn’t it,” I asked, “that you should call 
the man who informed you about your leader's 
death your well-wisher?” 

“Anyone who gives me correct information is 
my well-wisher,” she said. 

It was indeed important information, it meant 
the end of her incarceration. 

“You know 1 wasn’t allowed to meet anyone,” 
she said, “I’m not inaccessible anymore.” 

“House arrest?” someone quipped. 

“Home arrest, rather.” 1 said. 

Jayalalitha didn’t like it. obviously. She is a 
Mills and Boon intellectual, who speaks convent 
school English with a south Indian accent. 
Romance has to be treated with propriety, even 
in politics, and particularly in Tamil cinema. In 
Tamil Nadu they call her Chintanaj Seivi, the 
Treasure of Intellect. 

“Did they hurt you bad?” I asked, “1 heard you 
were even kicked." 

She blushed with ease. “Since I am a lady,” 
she said coyly, “1 cannot tell you where all I have 
been bruised.” 

Investigative journalism has to stop some- 
where, 1 thoufd^t, we cannot expose everything. 

T he body lay, tilted on the steps of the old 
colonial building called Rajaji Hall, under the 
big arches. It smelt of flowers and leaves. Tliere 
were policemen everywhere. Sorrow was abun- 
dant, especially with Doordarshan around. 
Women were sitting with their hair loose and 
clothes dishevelled, and the moment the TV 
cameras swivelled at them, they would begin to 
I beat their breasts and start wailing and tossing 
their heads, Cut! They were back to 
I spreading lime on their betel leaves, hopping 


"Sincelamalady,” 
JayaUHhasaMcojiy, 
"IcannotMlyou 
when allhave been 
bniied.” 
Inveiligative 
jounnism haste 
step 

somewhm...we 
cannot expose 
everything 



jjUNIMYWECIM. 



NedundieihiM 

doMolhaveagood 

nioii8iache.SolM 

hndmmttover 

ASA mm i rtliMiiaii 

wlulallOyeDIvW 

pmdLTheeffectis 
biiam.1hatliehad 
gone to gd Ha hair 
^forlhe 
Sw68nnsHn 
c6ifiiioiiyraisod 
innytytDnpwSi 

After MGR dM, 
Nadunchtiianwas 
theonlyMIoiirerto 
have (or him 


around on their haunches» chattering like mag- 
pies. 

But MGR's niece I^elavathi, who was beside 
the body was uncontrollable. She was the one 
who donated her kidney to MGR. Now that he 
was dead, a living part of her body would be dead 
and buried. Grief has its own karma, and many 
sacrifices are wasted. Even^hing decays. 

Uter. when 1 went to Rajaji HaU, there was a 
small group of curious stragglers. Remains of 
wreaths lay in the mild December sun. An old 
rusted cannon lay on one side, its wheels tilted 
and broken. Ail over the grounds were heaps of 
slippers and shoes, the only reminders of the 
vast crowd which had passed throu^. Beggars 
were rummaging among them, trying to find a 
matching pair. 

Hut the crowd which followed the funeral 
procession was curiously festive. They whistled 
and sang MGR film songs, many were in their 
Sunday best. 'Hiey were dry-eyed most of the 
time, except for the teargas. 1 walked along, 
swept on by the mob. winch retreated and 
advanced whenever there was a lathi-charge or 
shelling. The road was carpeted with chrysan- 
themums. A lorry went ahead of the hearse, 
loaded with flowers which they kept throwing 
down on the road. The gun carriage was small, 
and even after they tlrew Jayatelitha out, it 
seemed crowded. MGR lay on the bed of 
flowers, in his fur cap and glasses, his heavy 
watch strapped over his shirt cuffs. 

The police commissioner, Dewaram walked in 
front like Rambo, he seemed to be wearing a 
baseball cap. Nearly everyone wore dark glas- 
ses. Dewaram is a policeman widi a mission, he 
had once instructed all Madras policemen to 
grow fierce moustaches. Later he was shooting 
people on the beach when everything went mad, 
his eyes closed, his face tum^ away, and his 
hand extended with the black pistol looking like a 
finger, and it kept going pop-pop-pop. 

Krom Rajaji Hall, along Mount Road which had 
the shutters of smashed shops down, the 



tattered hoardings waving in the wind, broken 
glass and stones swept into the backlanes, the 
procession wound on through Cathedral Road 
and Kamaraj Salai to end at Marina Sands. 11ie 
crowd danc^ along, shouting slogans, and there 
were wolf whistles along the way. The air 
reeked of chripanthemums and liquor. It is a 
custom in Tamil Nadu, that when someone dies, 
the mourners dance around the body dninkenly, 
singing songs. Strangely, there was no one along 
the footpaths to receive the procession, they 
were all following it. My eyes were stinging with 
teargas, the police kept using it at intervals to 
control the advancing mob. The policemen 
behind the cortege walked with their rifles 
pointed at the mob. 

The burial site, next to Annadurai's, was 
cordoned off with bamboo poles. The slogans 
and the whistling of the crowds drowned the 
thundering of the sea. 'Fhe policemen in their 
steel helmets and rifles were uneasy, the horses 
of the mounted police whinnied restlessly. 

"He is our leader," someone shouted, "why 
aren’t we let near the grave? Why only the 
VIPs?" 

Then the stoning started. Next to me. I saw a 
man’s forehead bleed, his eye covered with 
blood. I heard the chatter of rifles, it sounded 
like crackers going off. Teargas shells were 
smoking like the sea mist, and someone lobbed 
back one of the shells at the police. The horses, 
their eyes blind with teargas, bleeding from 
stones, panicked, bucking their riders. 1 saw one 
rearing up on its hindlegs, its mouth open and 
frothing. 

But within the enclosure, the burial went on. 
It seemed that the body which knew nothing of 
the horses gone wild or the men lying dead on 
the white sands of Marina, had infected every- 
one with its indifference. It lay in the sandalwood 
coffin, rid of the tender weight of flowers. 

And when I drove along the Marina sands, a 
few hours after the funeral, what greeted me 
was a vast space of the sea and sand. In numb 
disbelief, I searched for mourners, suicides and 
supplicants. Tliere was just a tired posse of 
policemen; the sudden melting away .of the vast 
and violent crowd which they had tried to 
control, had left them in a state of uncertainty. 

There was only the immense and magical 
sunset, and the sun was like a huge orange 
slowly drowning in the sea. 1 walked down the 
long gravel path to the grave. There were a few 
green helmeted policemen keeping a lonely vi^. 
It had rained an hour ago, a thin uncelebrating 
rain, and a sheet of tarpaulin was draped over 
the mound. There were wet remains of wreaths, 
and empty packets of joss-sticks. 

"What a crowd there was," the policeman 
said, when Annadurai died, lliis time, it was 
full of violence. " I walked along the sands where 
a while ago nien had died and hprses had 
fl(.'undered. The sea breeze had blown away the 
teargas. Empty bottles lay among the shells, 
there were slippers and broken poles, which 
seemed washed up by the sea from a wreck. The 
crabs were coming out. 

'Die emptiness was like an obituary a 


62 


tUMAAV 10-16 JMHnry 1908 




The Raj apologist 







Indian Railways 







REVOLUTION ON 


7K TRAIL 


»e successive years of record freight movement 




(In million tonnes) 


Toiigel 

Achieved 

1985-86 

277.00 

266.38 

1986-87 

294.00 

307.03 

1987-88 

201.30 

20347' 

(ApiNNew) 




' Tocims 320 million *onntt$ tor 0)0 full ytor 


1 19IM4, Roilways set up outstanding 
Kords of groy^h and productivity Ihesevmre 
lutstripped in 19B647. And nonv. Ralivyays are 
#ell on the Moy to 0 record hat-trick ( 

||«S 647 HI 0 H 110 HR 

NIgto loodtog : Crossed 300 rniilion tonnes 
for the first time - a 7% increase over 
196^36 loading. 


MgM Ttamport OutoiO : 222 bHtlon tonne 
kms. - 7.n higher than in 1965^ and 
1 1% more than targeted. 


NIKM <liead Oouge) : Net tonne kfn& per 
viAgon per day -- the crucial efficiency 
indicator for freight mceement ** reached 
on aft time high of 1 m thus surpcMing 
emnjQportinpioducfIvilyi 


no Oonlabwr Seivleei : 29,728 tEUs 

(Twerfty-toofGciuikalentUniN)o^ 

tttoort/ftnpQrtoafBoviietotKind^ 

fit 9.6 crae i earned -37% and 69% mow 

ieiggeHvilylhanto19em 

Niiiengtiileiileei:lnlioducflonof9nevv 

OtoM fnini, IncftNied 8equency of 

wsd kripcitant na|/«p«i 


troins ond speeding up of seuerol trains... 
have ensured h'gher passenger traffic and 
better service 

* SUfpol•lngTcNgil•^Tatgetstorall 
production units were eeceeded and 
all-time records were set in track tenewoli 
(3978 Im) and electriflcotion works 
(573R.kmi). 

* 8ueoeieNetapliiiiud|geli:Oneofthe 
few piofitototo mftwoy undertakings in the 
world. Indian RoNways achieved 
operational surpluses of Mr Rs. 178 ctores 
)n1988^anQ overRi 101 croiesin 
198637. 

A Snii MITER VEM : 1 W7-U 

And nowentiMh 196746... onothtryBoroC 
iBOQio DiBaianQ psiiQinianos. m mB nni 

6 fTKXiths of the cunent year. Roiftfir^ 
achieved even higher growth and 
productMty than to the corresponding period 
of 196637. 

Above OIL todkm Mwayi b tad nrtodeinWng 
ni opeianore IV rneer me cnoRengei or me 
21sf oentunf... otto lemato liue to to hWorte 

ictooilM NAmm IM OF POIIUM 


[ KEY INDICATOBS FOR 193743 | 


April- SepL'86 

Aimi-iept.'e7 

Freight loading (miHion tonnes) 

1284 

136.1 

Reight Transport Output (NiiontorviekrmO 9918 

103Jt 

NTKM (Broad Gauge) 

1310 

1336 

Track Renewals (krr&) 

1484 

1739 

Electrification ( R.ikm) 

60 

203 



MDWNRMUMV 
FINANCE CORPCRAnONim 

(A Qevemment of India Fnterprlte) 


f QuIppInfi ltoUi¥Oiy $ tof 



IE RAILS-CASH IN! 


ConUmmi 1mm 93 


of European Mc-a-toc and 
Hindu ardunstk tinsel. In its 
tiiiKtionmg it was abno^ a 
vatideville... Another tawdry 
efement was the yearning 
Tagore developed ip his old 
age for 'female compan- 
ionship' in the manner of 
Peter Pan.. .Thus it hap- 
pened that he would talk to 
or corresi:^ with a number 
of Bengali women.. .who at 
their b^t were very Beng^ 
bluestockings and at th^ 
worst very Bengali pre- 
cieuses ndfcif/es...(Visva- 
Bharati) became a femme 
htah (but) instead of dying in 
Ms arms and leaving Mm to 
Ms regrets, drove Mm to 
death, wMIe she herself not 
only survived but, leaving all 
her past escapades, became 
a sordid and commonplace 
housewife." Every little 
cranny of Bengali file and 
society is ferreted out, ex- 
posed and attacked in a lan- 
guage which he has at Ms 
command, spiced with clas- 
sical scholarship; and if there 
is a belated appreciation of 
Bengali "poetry, song and 
story wMdi will rank the 
best created in any country 
or nge" it ends with the 
epitaph: "Here lies one 
whose name was writ in 
water." 

Bengal was clearly "de- 
composing" and lost its 
primacy in Indian politics d- 
ter 19^ when the centre of 
gravity diilted to the "fossil- 
ised" north with GandM, 

Nehniend the Congress who 
started the amorphous thing 
called Non-violem and Civil Diaobedieooe. Given Nirad 
Babu's "love for lost causes" (Oxford is the home for such 
causes!) what he has to say about the Ereedoin Struggle can 
wdl be anticipated; the Congress. GandM and Nehru g^ 
independence almost on a pfathn: (only Jamah was dear in Ms 
olge^es and struggled to get Pakistan) and the leading 
fi^ts of the Congress got "The Red (Carpet for Indian 
Independence" rolied out because of other olgective fectors of 
Mstory. GandM’s "inaignificant" contribution is fisted out 
which ends with a devastating attack on Attenborough’s 
Gandhi "a visual presentation of a felse myth.. .The film 
should have its pendant in a similar film on Hider. And why 
not? Hitler was equally a man of feith, he also wanted to get 
redress for the wrongs inflicted on Gonmany, he also gave Ms 
fife, and above afi succeeded where GandM did not It is he 
who destroyed British greatness... What GanM or the Indian 
nationafist inovement (fid was only to take thfehyena’s share 
of the lion's IdlL" ^ i 

I nterspersed with history is a great (leal of pite 

I phy but much of it is trivia and tawdry gossip whk^ 


Babu tries desperately to Ink 

tii^^larg^M 

adolescenoe. tfPf us about 
the hard tinm Ifo had looking, 
for a job, unempfayment and 
how "blessed are the poor- 
with spirit" Some firiends 
like Bibhuti Banerjl sustaiiied 
Mm, along with Ms growing ^ 
interest in literature and 
western classical music (we 
are given a fiill fist of these) 
tiO he becomes a Scholar 
Gipsy and takes on the role 
of Cassandra to give warn- 
ings of calaniities’ to come. , 
So all the letters and memor- 
anda he wrote, obvious^ to 
Engliah newspapers, jour- 
nals, including The States- 
man, are reproduced along 
with Itsy-bitsy things like Ms 
(ddldren were breM-fed in- 
stead of being given Cow A 
Gate milk jpemiet knpoited 
firom England, orhowaBen- 
gafi engineer "educated in 
England" timed the drownii^ 
of a Muslim peasant on Ms 
"Rolex wrist watdi", or how 
Gopal Haidar had established 
"a mixed and egregiouB leh- 
tionaMp with an absurd poli- 
tical woman. Banal PMiva 
Devi known for her revolu- 
tionary and amatory propen- 
sity." VkkMis drawing room 
go^ but nodiing more, and 
one is left wondering how 
(3iatto's editor let it pass. 

But much more sinister in 
its implications is Nirad 
Bahu's graphic descriptkm of 
Siibhash Bose's escape firam 
Calcutta. He has pie^ tMs 
account from what Sarat 
Bose's nephew told Mm (he was then working as Sarat Bose's 
secretary and therefore a member of the household), phis 
stray conversations with British officials and of course from 
Ms never-feifing otemoiy ("I don't keep notes") little realising 
that the hardest thing to predict is the pa^ According to 
Nkad Babu, British kitelfigeDce knew every single niove Bose 
made and provided Mm with a "safe passage" to the Afghan 
border. 

Ponibijr the bnt dnpter in this lOOO-page book, bte latt 
one in wl^ Nirad Bdm apsis out Us Credo when one cm 
fim^ diaoem some traces of hunsBty and Us love for the 
ocdimiy people. When al is said and done vriyt copies 
through al the aound and Any ia nhat the KussUns oil a 
“posi^ berD”: a'fanmm who is agahst al cmt and 
hypocrisy (<Mhed of daurse in Us osm *pttte‘ terms), bdevea 
in certain values and principl e s and ai prepared te pay the 
'^price for them rather thm succumb to cheap trnsel and 
tridt^. He could be vnong but at least he is hones t and 
that is more than we can aqr dout a gnat many of ust 

n, NMi OM /iMmi tv Mnu c. osiMdSHitciiiah iwaa« UR Mn san 



Interspersed with history is a great 
deal of pure autobiography... 
Itsy-bitsy things like his 
children were breast-fed and some 
vicious drawing room gossip 


66 



BUSINESS 


Operalion Austerity 


Severe restriction on tours, withdrawal of STD facilities and no official greeting 
cards— happy days are over for bureaucrats. But are Rajiv Gandhi and 
his ministers exempt from the economy drive? 


I t began sometime in mid-August 
1987 with a demi-oftinal note from 
the fiiiiince secretary. 'ITie . note, 
addressed to all secretaries to the Gov- 
ernment of India, was unambiguous: "In 
view of the severe drought and the 
consequent financial stringency, it has 
been decided that all foreign trips of 
ministers and officers should be deferred 
for tfie time b<*ing; wherever it is 
considered inescapable and necessary, 
the screening committee has been 
directed to review the cases and take 
orders... of higher authority..." 'fhat 
was the beginning. Soon, other demi- 
official notes urging economy followed. 
The government had suddenly found 
itself short <jf cash and launched "Opera- 
tion Austerity". 

In the new year, "economy" is the 
keyword at government offices in the 
capital. An under-secretary in the North 
Block laments that STD facilities have 
been withdrawn from his office and 
residential telephones. In fact, his re- 
sidential telephtjne might be discon- 
nected. He derives little consolation 
from the fact that nearly 500 officials of 
the central government have suffered a 
similar fate in recent months. All officers 
below the rank of secretary no longer 
enjoy STD facilities. 

It is another matter that, strictly 
speaking, the under-secretary was not 
entitled lo the luxury of a phone. Only 
officials of tlie rank of deputy secretary 
and above are allowed such a facility. 
However, previously exceptions were 
occasionally made for "need-based 
cases". But now happy days are over 
and broken chairs go unrepaired for lack 
of funds. 

What is most depressing, says 
another bureaucrat, is the severe res- 
triction on tours. He recently joined the 
Planning Commission with ambitious 
plans of assessing to what dxtent gov- 
ernment projects and prog^mmes had 
been implemented by visiting project 
evaluation officers in person. It’s unlike- 
ly his wish will be fulfilled as there is a 
virtual ban on travelling on government 
account. Even for those “inescapable" 
iunmIv is-if jmi^ 


journeys that have to be made, the 
Planning Commission has a new rule: 
officials will have to meet tour expenses 
from their pockets and will be reim- 
bursed in the next, financial year starting 
1 April. 1988. The reason: "paucity of 
funds”. 

The economy drive has not only 
checked officials' wanderlust, but has 
also made it difficult for them to com- 
mute within the city. An official in the 
Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) 
complains that he can no longer requisi- 
tion a staff car to go to the aiiixjrt or 
tail way station. If Uie car 
drops him it would have to 
come back empty, wasting 
a lot of petrol— therefore. 


Why is the PM out of llie 


things, economy measures! I'he chief 
executives will be addressed by the 
Prime Minister himself. 

B ill oven thriftiness has its lighter 
moments: the famous greeting card 
fiasco. On 12 November a directive was 
issued from the finance ministry, at the 
PM’s instance, instructing PSCJs not to 
print calendars, diaries and greeting 
cards this year to save goveiiiinent 
money. But it was mid-!)occinber by the 
time many of the organisations received 
the order, and iimst f>t the cards and 


piirvio woflhofngallty 

drivo, quostion tho Aafovin 
Nort h Btodtand South 

B lock. Thoyhaip on th o 

cabinet mooting it Sir^ 
and^yoirond hoMiy a t 
Lakshadwoop 

“take a taxi" is the new rule. 
But the reimbursement for 
the taxi fare comes after 



four months. 

Every year 50-60 training program- 
mes are organised for public sector 
executives as part of human resources 
development. But thanks to the auster- 
ity drive, all the training schemes have 
been done away with. Nor are there 
conferences and seminars as frequently 
as in the old days. 

P'or the big bosses, however, the 
rules are slightly different. Early this 
year there is going to be a two-day 
jamboree of chief executives of public 
sector undertakings (PSUs) in the capit- 
al. The conference, scheduled to be held 
at Vigyan Bhavan, yrilt discuss, of all 


gifts were ready. 

Why is the i’rime Minister out of the 
purview of the frugality drive, question 
the habus in North BUnk and South 
Bkx'k. They harp on the cabinet mocking 
at Sariska and the year-end' holiday at 
Lakshadweep. At Sariska, Kajastli«m 
CM, Harideo Joshi, made such ostenta- 
tious arrangements for security that 
even the PM was moved lo protest, 'llie 
erection of a barricade along the 50' mile 
radius of the wildlife .sanctuary must 
have cost at least Ks 1.5 lakhs. But joshi 
is hardly to be faulted, say many, as the 
PM is a liigh-seairity risk. 


IMaiHon Aiwpf^ 


67 




L 

68 



bureaucrat in the finance ministry, de- 
partment of economic affairs, says that 
the foreign travel budget has been cut 
down by 20 per cent and the budget for 
tours witliin the country is down by 10 
per cent, but ail this will not amount to 
savings of more than Rs 50-60 crores. 

Nob(kly in official circles really be- 
lieves that the economy drive is only to 
provide drought relief. Says an additional 
secretary in the finance ministry, “'ITie 
government is trying to increase de- 
fence expenditure, go in for liberal 
dearness allowances, hundreds of new 
schemes, new technology in various^A j 
fields -all at the same time. If the 
coat is not cut according to the 
cloth, why be surprised 
if you are broke?" 






BUSINESS 


city. But despite this, the DDA stiU has a 
huge backlog. Under the DDA's new 
scheme alone there are more than 1.12 
lakh people on the waiting list. There are 
another 29,000 on the waiting list under 
the self-financing scheme. lYivate de- 
veloi^s like Ansal and DLF are also 
pushing ahead with their ambitious 
schemes of putting up housing colonies 
in Haryana, despite constant friction 


with the government 
At every stage there are con- 
straints — land, building materials, the 
high cost of construction. Land, of 
course, is the biggest constraint of all. In 
West Bengal, for instance, the state 
Housing Board now concentrates its 
efforts on developing either the out- 
skirts of the dty or other major towns of 
the state like Sili^tri, Asansol and Dur- 
gapur. The Housing Board is now de- 
veloping Dankuni, a Calcutta suburb, 
and also has housing estates in Salt Lake 
City — Karunamoyee and Purbachal — as 
well as others in Lake Town, Sunny 



WMi housing ihorhBys 
aslhqfawamUlio 
cwstwMypwiHg 


imriiet, the mUdlMitts 
drtMiiiofihoiwecl 
yourownisatelytogBt 

fiiorooimvBaiio 

ixpBiisivB wiui ovwy 


Park and Golf Green, three important 
residential localities in Calcutta. 

In Bangalore, despite numerous 
wrangles, the BDA's land acquisition has 
gone up from 279 acres in 1979 to more 
than 11,000 acres in 1986. In the 
l^ocess it has got involved in a maze of 
litigation. At the moment it is fighting 
almost 2,000 cases, almost all of which 
relate to land acquisition. To get around 
the difficulties of constant liti^^tion, the 
BDA is now offering a tantalising bait: it 
has launched an incentive scheme under 
which any person who surrenders land 
to the BDA will get the price of his land 
plus another 60 by 40 plot for each acre 
given up at 25 per cent of the cost. The 
BDA says that this scheme has already 
netted 600 acres of land in one layout 
alone. 

The shortage of land is having the 
inevitable effect on land prices in every 
urban conglomerate. In Bombay prices 
have been sky-high for the last five 
years. Delhi, too, is fast catching up. In 
Calcutta real estate prices are shooting 
upwards. In Sunny Park, for instance, a 
Housing Board flat which sold at Rs 100 
per sq. ft in 1977-78 now has a market 
value of at least Rs 700 to Rs 800 per sq. 
ft. In Lake Town, the price of land has 
gone up from Rs 3,000 to Rs 4,000 per 
katha in 1964 to anywhere between Rs 
one lakh and Rs two lakhs at present. 
Says J; Swaminathan, chief executive. 
Skyline Constructions, *'Unless land is 
given cheap, builders will not be able to 
deliver.” 

But all over the country a trend is 
clearly emerging — the government is 
gradually beginning to realise that it 
cannot do the task of house building 
single-handed. In Delhi, the DDA is 
woddng to eliminate its long waiting list 
over the next five years. Then it hopes 
to pull out of the actual work of construc- 
tion and turn it over to the private 
builders and group housing societies. In 
Bangalore, too, Nilakanta Raj talks of 
the need to bring in private devebpers, 
saying, **We want to involve private 
developers especially to provide group 
housing.” 

But with housing shortages as they 
are and the constantly growing market, 
the government is going to have to think 
of a lot of chains to solve the problem. 
Even the private devebpers cannot 
solve the probtem unless they have solid 
backing in the form of finances and loans. 
And until that happens tlie middle-class 
dream of a house of your own is likely to 
get more elusive and expensive with 
every passing year. 

iwHh W am l ln l 

MgeNatwAa^gBiefwaiid biweau reports 


69 


CAREERS IN 
ENGINEERING 


ASIA’S LARGEST TECHNICAL COLLEGE OPENS A WIDE 
AVENUE OF JOB-ORIENTED COURSES 

Applications are invitpd for Admissions to the next 
session coming shortly in : 

t. AIRCRAFT MAINTENANCE ENGINEERING 

2. DIPLOMA IN ACTTOMOBILE ENGINEERING 

3. DIPLOMA IN BUILDING TECHNOLOGY 

4. DIPLOMA IN AIRCONDmONING & REFRIGERATION 

5. DIPLOMA IN RADIO & TELEVISION ENGINEERING 

6. A.M.LM.L (LONDON)/ AM.LAE (INDIA) (AUTO ENGG) 

7. AM.LE (Studentship. Sec ‘A* & Sec ‘BT classes in CIVIL 
MECHANICAL ELECTRONICS & ELECTRICAL BRANCHES). 

8. AfiAe. SiL (Aeronautical Engg. S/S. Sec ‘A* & Sec ‘B^). 

9. GRAD LET.E (Electronics-S/& Sec *A* & Sec ‘ff). 

10. AM.&E (LONDON) MEOi/OVlL/ELECTRlCAL ENGG 

1 1. COMPUTER PROGRAMMING (COBOL/ BASIC FORTRAN & PASCAL) 

12. BUSINESS MANAGEMENT. 

13. G Com. (Postal Tuition only). 

Course Na 1, approved by DG^ Govt of India. A pass in courses 7, 8, 

& 9 recognised as equivalent to EE Degree 

CORRESPONDENCE COACHING ALSO AVAILABLE FOR ABOVE 
COURSES EXCEPT COURSE NO.*l & 2. 



QualHkation for Admission 

For Course Na I & II 10 4 2/PDC or equivalent with Maths, Physics & 
Chemistry For other courses: EEL^Matiiculation. 


FAQUriES 


Expert faculty well-equipped Woitohops and Labe Latest Audio-Visual 
Aide Facility for Postal Students to undergo practical training. Post- 
institutional apprenticeship and placement seivicee For prospectus and 
application form remit Re 25/- M.O/P.0. 



DIRECTOR 

HINDUST/^N INSTrrUTE OF 
ENGINEERING TECHNOLOCjY 
po; Box Na 1306, GST. Road,' 

St Thomas AAount 

Vtadra&eOO 015, Telex: 041-8040 HIET IN 
Qmmsf: fLLFTVE Phone: 431389/432508 





BUSINESS 


Carbide tides over 
bankruptcy threat 

Facing a $3 billion suit following the Bhopal gas 
tragedy, the US giant has restructured its businesses 


W liat was billed to be one of the 
corporate collapses of the decade 
might well become a comeback story. 
Three years aft^r the Bhopal gas 
tragedy, the giant American multination- 
al, Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), 
seems to have survived the threat of 
bankruptcy and liquidation. 

The UCC faces a $3 billion (Rs 3,600 
crores) suit for the 1984 disaster and has 
now been ordered to pay Rs 350 crores 
to the victims as inteiim relief. With 
assets of $10 billion at the time of the 
incident, laying hands on unencumbered 
assets worth the value of the suit would 
have strained the financial stability of any 
international concern. But after three 
years of restructuring and recapitalisa- 
tion, the multinational is now a trimmer 
organisation, with its book value down to 
$7 billion which has led to a plunge in its 
Fortune ratings. 

The scenario in the UCC headquar- 
ters in Danbury, USA, would have been 
different had India not restrained the 
multinational from disposing of further 
assets to declare liquidation. Through 
what is an unprecedented iryunction 
order initiated by Indian courts, the 
UCC in 1986 was ordered to appoint a 
court evaluator to inform the Indian 
government about its market position 
and current assets. The quarterly re- 
ports of the evaluator that cost India 
$15,000 each, show that soon after the 
disaster the UCC went ahead with 
large-scale closures, retrenchment of 
staff, besides evolving a flawless recapi- 
talisation programme to keep afloat. 

The past two years have seen ^ 
UCC sell its consumer products division 
(consisting of its home and automative 
products business) for $2.2 billion and 
^stributing die profit firom the sale over 
their book value to the company's share- 
holders as a special dividend. Further, 
the sale of UCC's film packaging and 
polymer and composite business for 
approximately ^82 million in 19% ai^ 
one of its administrative fodiities in 

ThtUCIL 


Danbury for $340 million provided the 
multinational with finance to ward off 
successive take-over bids after the 
Bhopal catastrophe. 

The worst threat to the UCC, 
curiously, came from a comparatively 
puny American gas corporation — the 
GAF“Which offered a share price of 
$78 at a time when the value of a UCC 
share was down to $29 from $49 at the 
time of the Bhopal gas leak. In a shrewd 
counter-offer, the UCC announced a 
price of $85 a share with the catch of 


TheUCCface8a$31iillion(R> 


3,600 crores) suit ter the 1984 


disaster and hn new been ordered 


te pay Rs 350 crores te the victiBis 


asiiiteimirBl}e t. MThe 
nwItination arsstieteawwistopMt 
^payni^of compensation as^ 


financing thus payment partly in cash and 
partly in the form of junk notes or equity 
bonds payable in 15 years. By estab- 
lishing its “contingent liability” the UCC 
repurchased approximately 56 per cent 
of its then outstanding shares and issued 
debentures and bonds worth $2.5 billion 
to its shareholders. 

Despite the UCC’s announcement 
that it would sell its agricultural products 
and electronics components businesses, 
it has been restricted from doing so in 
India because of the litigation in progress 
in America. The Eveready battery and 
other cash-cow plants have been wound 
up, but the agrochemicals plant of Union 
Carbide India Limited (UCIL) in Bhopal 
and the petrochemical division in Chem- 
bur continue to exist on paper. 

'I'he Bhopal fertiliser plant has been 
unused since December 1984 and a 
notice has now been served to UCIL to 
shut down its Chembur utility for failing 
to satisfy safety prerequisites. 'Diere- 
fore, UCIL (in w'hich the parent UCC 
has a 50.9 per cent holding) is paralysed. 
According to the latest quarterly reports 
of UCC's market situation, the present 
chairman, Robert Kennedy, in a major 
shift from his predecessor Warren 
Anderson's policy, has decided to go in 
for further massive recapitalisation in 
America only after the Bhopal suit is 
settled. Till then, the strategy of the 
UCC would be to stand firm on a 
comeback trail and put off payment of 
compensation as long as it can. 
mtu SmkUNww MM 




OSWALAGRO MILLS 

invites its sharehoMers 
to strengthen their bonds with the Company 

TAPPING ACRO RESOURCES 


The ncT) soil oi our country has given so 
iniiCh and has so much more to give I see a 
vision of the Oswal Aqro tree growng from 
slrongth to strength ■ spreading its 
branches to cr)vor new products for India 
and lor the world 

AbheyOswal 

Chairman 


We believe 
In performance 


In 5 years 

Turnover up 759% to 
Hi. 177.15 crore s 

Net Profit up 906% to 
lts.8.05crores 

SlnrelioiiiersRiiMNup2742^ 
m 51.17 crore s 

Aggregate tHvidend 174% 

(50% for 198647) 


! Turnover ' ' ' NMProM 


I 

«hviw 

A ACEtlcACie 

eunuraiMcohei 
rurane mm 






Fully Convertible Bonds 
on Rights basis. 

eQ.1SjeO-1U% Bonds of Rl 100 NCh 
aooreoatiiio 01 ee,iSAi,ooo 

HICHUCHTS 

■ 13.5% interest from day one (also payable to 
non-allottees) 

■ Full conversion of each Bond into 2 Equity 
Shares at a price of Rs. so per Share 

in Just 90 days 

■ The company intends retaining 
oversubscription as may be permissible 


OSWAL AGRO IWLLS UMTED 

Regd Office 25 8/6, New Rohtak Road. New Delhi-110 005 


R& 5.000 
invested In 
OswalAgro Mills 
has grown to 
R& 10.800* 

In Just 4 months 


‘An invwalmenl uf Hs 5.000 made m the Riqhie 
Issua of Fully Convortiblu Itonos yialdi'd tOO Fqiiily 
Sharoa in Aiigual 199r r)n 2Rih Novemnar 1087 at 
the market price of n$ 106 * per tqiniy Share 
againal isaue price of 50 • each ihe invesimifit 
hn grown lo Rs 10 800 An Apprni iAl>oii ul I lb% m 
|u8t 4 muntha 

1 (On Delhi Slock Lichange M 


ShamioMersliavegot 
iretumof nearly 4000%** 
taSyears 


Original inveatnieni 100 Sharea 

at par in Feb 10B3 

Inveatment in Rights luueA 

(4fl Shares at par m 1904 

* 89 Shares at premmiti ol Ra 15 

per Share in 19^ * 7B4 Shares 

at premium ot Ra 40 per Share m 1987) 

total 421 Shares 

Market Value ot S2i Shaies 

(521 - Ra 108 ) t 

Return on Original investment 


Ra 56268 ~ Ra 16905 


Assured DIvIdeiid Of mlniiouin 90% 
f0rl987-88 


ISSUE OPEN 


ACHIEVEMENTS HiAT SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS 




WVtingh^ another 
bosiness iMy has inad^ 
Snal split Soon after the 
Bklaiis^ theBanfurshavefor** 
malty dhj(le<}ih^eoin> 
mm amdog three distinet 
braDctes of theftunfly. 
TheB.(jf* Bangiir-I^.D. Ban- 
gurfilctioit tfaeC,C Ban- . 
gur-LN. togur group and 



K.K. Bangur, aeiaoMdanAaf 
Ra Bai^r: a family bfialia up 

the N.D. Bangur-SX Ban- 
gur team have carved up the . 
20-odd companies of Indiana , 
eleventh largest (in terms of 


among themselves.- 
Differences with partners 
like the Somanis and the 
JhupjhunwaHas, and, more 
lately, clashes within the 
Ban^ dan have stymied 
gro^(ff the group. 

But insiders believe that af- 
ter the empire (net assets 
worth iivi!r.lt8 650 croBcsl 




hasbSien^lipbrti^ I 
the sons and descendants of 
stockbroker Mt^ Ram 
Bangur, there «ll be a re- 
surgence of activity in an the 
three groups. 

Cvisr since some major 
Eabttdness groups like the 
SiogMas and the Thapars, 
shifted their loyalties from 
FKXI (Federation of Indian 
Chambers of (xanmerce and 
Industry) to Assocham | 
(Associated Chambers of 
Commerce and Industry), 
the two have been jostimg 
for representation on the 
joint wsiness councils 
dBCs). So for, industrialis.ts 
from the FICCl canm have 
been on bilateral JBCs invol- 
ving 34 different countries, 
while Assocham, after much . 
fobbyingwiththeUniongov- 
enunent, has managed to be 
. oKwJytwo. 

Recently, however, a rap- 
prochement was nearly 
reached between the two 
rival federations when their 
immediate past presidents 
met for hin^. R.P. Goenka 
(of FICCI) informally offered 
M.K. Kumar (of Assocham) 
an olive branch in the form of 
co-leadership of the Indian 
business detegatfon to Japan 
in December, which (loenka 
headed in his capacity as 
chairman of the Indo- 
JapaneseJBC. 

Vlnpd BahaH gobig pMii 



‘ >■ ' 


R.P. OoMitai: orMno an oHvt 
branch to Aaaoeham 

But Kumar was forced to 
turn down Goenka’s offer by 
Assocham hardliners. And 
their offidal demand now is 
that FICCI must share the 
JBCs equally and accept 
Assocham's rotational right 
for leadership. 

N on-resident Indians cer- 
tainly seem to be going 
places. Not only has their 
spirit of adventure led them 
to set up homes in foreign 
lands, but they also seem to 
be doing very well in their 
chosen fields. You may not 
have heard of him, but Vinod 
Sahai's has been quite a suc- 
cess story in Italy, where he 
went about 20 years ago. 

A graduate of IIT, i^rag- 
pur, and a doctorate in auto- 
mobile engineering from 
Torino, Italy, Sahai started 
his career with the Fiat 
^oup in 1970. Today, Sahai 
is the managing director of 
Nuova C’Ovema (turnover: Rs 
15 crores) which he tought 
over in June 1985.'rhe Milan- 
based company has had 
businessfelations with India 
for a few years, and at the 
recent India International 
Trade Fair in the capital it 
was Nuova Covema that bag- 
ged the largest deal 



I he road downhill for Ra* 
jesh Khanna is a steep one 
and nothing seems to block 
his £ist slide down to obli- 
vion. Gonia, which was sup- 
posed to be his life-line, went 
down without a trace at the 
boX'Office and the ex- 
superstar is still grappling 
with flops. Now, pr^ucers 
who had consented to take 
Khanna in their films as 
second and even third lead, 
are beginning to have second 
thoughts. Desperate to sal- 
vage his career, Rajesh has 
sought different avenues— 
the small screen. He also 
nurtures the ambition of 
making it as a nets, now that 
rival Arnitabh Bachchan is 
out of the running. But sure- 
ly, the Congress(l) does not 
require former superstars 
and out-of-work actors to 
refurbish its flagging image? 

Success seems to have 
gone to Mahesh Bhatt's 
head. Reportedly he has 
gone completely ^commer- 



cial' after the making of 71ih 
kana. Despite the 
fiict that he has as many as 
eiifit films on hand, Mahesh 
shoots for only two or three 
hoursaday. RecentlyMah- 
esh played truant from the 
sets of two films being made 
by Hema MafinL Accranding 
to reliable sources, Sunjay 
Dutt had just returned from 
his honeymoon, whenMah- 
esh realised that his own film 
deserved first pnority. 
Itona's film Gc^ wait tin the 
time he had finished his 
shooting with Suiqay. One 
wonders what Hona has to 
say about this. 



m0: 




\A^e are just good 
friends” seems to be the 
cliche that most filmstars re- 
sort to when they wish to 
deny rumours of their affairs 
and marriages. So when 
Pqonam Dhillon and Ashok 
Thakeria, the latest 'pair' in 
tinsel town have started us- 
ing it, it is obvious that 
something more serious 
is bre^i^ between the 
two. Since Ashok is a 
handsome young man and 
even comes from a gonrfl 
foifuly, one wonders why 
the two aren’t getting 
married? This romance dates 
back to the days when 
Padmini walk^ out of 
Ashok'sfibnlCisani 
and Poonamrepla 
ced her. Ashok and 
Poonam vibed very 
well and before 
long,ahot ro- 
mance was on. At 
apartytocelebr 
ate the success 
ofAfriMfr, the 
couple proved 
once agsin that i 


other. One certainly hopes 
that the Ashok-Poonam affair 
win soon culminate in mar- 
riage. As a close friend of 
Poonam said, "It wiU be nice 
to see the two married and 1 
hope that Ashok keeps her 
ha^y.” Now the film indus- 
try is waiting with bated 
breath lor news of their 


engagement 


P reducers of Padmini 
Kottiapure’s films are ina 
state of panic. Ever since 
Padmini married Pradeep 
(Ttitu) Sharma, producers 
spent sleippless nights 
wondering when ftdmini 
would can it a day. After an. 
Rati Agnihotri,Neetu Singh, 
Babita and Mumtaz had bm 
highly successful stars be- 
fore they quit fihns. Hence 
Padmini's case would not be 
different, would it? When 
Padnuni finatty announced 
that she would quit films in 
April 1988, producers 
panidred, but were not taken 
off guard. They are now 
stumbling over each other to 
complete Padmini's films. 
Sult^ Ahmed's Daatais one 
such film. Deven Verma, 
another producer-director 
firols that the future of his 
film is "doomed”. It win be 
up to Padmini to complete 
their films before her depar- 
ture from the tinsel world, to 
ensure that she does not 
leave behind a pack of dis- 
gruntled producers. 

iA person who is in 
on a signing spree is Dilip 
Kumar. 'Fhe star-casts of 
almost seven new produc- 
tions are headed by the 



[ 




veteran actor. But what has 
motivated the thespian to 
sign films with such disfe- 
gjad for either directors of 
repute or veteran actors, is 
stfll a mystery. He is acting 
in films by Sanjay Khan, 
Mahesh Bhatt and even the 
movie-making-machine from 
the south, K. Bapp^. 
Perhaps, Yusufbhai has de- 
cided to rake in the loot while 
the going is good! . 





I or those who stulniiss 
the Nukkadffoig, there’s 
good news. Aspkidprog- 
ramme is to be telecast 
featining Avtaar *Kaderbhai' 
Gin, Dil9*Guiu'Dhawan, 
RamaTeacheiji' V q, and, of 
course, the inimitable 
Sameer’Khopdi’Kakkar. 
MeanwhfletheentireArufc- 
Jtad gang has been ingenious- 
ly dMded into two teams— 
onegitNipisbusywithMsm- 
oraiaan and the other with 
Sae^ Mirza's nesct serial ti- 
tled ihtesar. 

The serial Ramayan seems 
to have worked wonders for 
its entire star cast. Not only 
has it made them demi-gods 
in the eyes of the public, but 
has served to transform the 
personality of the characters 
themselves. Arun 'Ram’ 
Govil who is called Sri Ram 

Arun Qovll and OMplItti: 



Itama Vl| and Samssr Kaklcar: naul round 



by the unit members has 
even given up his smoking, in 
keeping with the 'pure* image 
that he is portraying. Rama- 
nand Sagar is addressed as 
PdWnnd true to his name 
he has set down certain 
norms for hb artistes. They 
are all made to sit together 
for their meals. Moreover, 
nobody on the sets is allowed 
to consume meat or Kqucff! 
Devotional son^ are sung in 
the sets from time to time 
and piyas are performed. To 
top it ^ if an artiste makes 
an error during a shot and a 
retake is required, Sagar 
does not lose tus temper. 
Instead, like a true hither, he 
gives hb cast an advice or 
two to try iiard and rise to 
the occasion! 




C^nce the novelty of being 
a celebrity hounded by auto- 
graph-se^rs has worn ofr, 
the qu^t for gfoiy begins. 
Television has m^e instant 
cebbrities of some strug- 
gling actors and actresses 
and now that fame has led to 
reciognition even in the high’ 
ly-competitive world of fea- 
ture fims the television stars 
want a formal reco^iition of 
tbeir talent. If there can be a 
national award for pne's per- 
formance in fkns, why not 
have a similar pwraskarfxx 
television too, tl^ argue. 
And the rumour b that the 
government b seriously 
thinking about instituting 
sudi an award, where every 
actor, actress, or technical 
hand will be assessed accord- 
ing to his/her performance 
ai^ skill and not just by the 
popularity-rating of the se- 
rials, Above all, there b the 
lure of the saitad puras/ar 
and national recognition 
which b egging on the TV 
celebrities to give a good 
peiformance! 

Dutubhai ‘Reliance’ 
Ambani b an angry man. The 
business tycoon b peeved at 
the way Paldstan Tetevbkm 
(PTV) frequently refened to 
recent international 
cricket tournament as the 
fomrth Wocld Cup and not as 
ReianceCup, despite.formal 
interveiitions by the Pbkbtan 
Cifcittt Board to call it the 
ReSance Cup. Little wonder 
then, that Anibani b deter- 
mkiedtoliostthenextakk- 
> et World Cup provided aD the 


challenge matches are held 
solely in Indb! But will 
Anibani be able to succeed in 
hb intention of making the 
World Cup an 'Only Reliance* 

affair ? 

V\/^hen Shafi Inamdar left 
Yehjo Hat Zindaff for the big 
screen, telly-viewers were 
sorely disappointed. They 
would mbs their beloved 
'Raitjeet*. Things would nev- 
er be the same again, and as 
time went by, the serial lost 
its popularity. But 'Ranjeet*, 
'Rrau* and 'R^' remained 
etched in public memory. So 
whcsi a gossip mag^bie re- 
ported the serious illness of 
Shafi 'Rargeet* Inamdar, 
everyone panicked. Accord- 
ing to the magazine, Inamdar 
had suffered a heart attack 
that had necessitated bypass 




Bhsll Immdsr; an Is wtR 


surgery. Producers in the 
industry almost chewed off 
their fingers in desperation 
as over a dozen films and two 
seriab starring the actor 
were on the floors. However 
when contacted, Shafi 
bughed off the rumours as 
^’exaggerated bbrications”. 
The actor who had high blood 
pressure, had been advised 
complete rest for five days. 

"I even went on a crash dbt 
and have shed nearly ten 
kga. ** So, you can expect to 
see a much-slimmer Shafi ki 
R^sh Khanna’a serial, 
AsidbaSacbAaiStaJhootaaA 
in Moti Sagaris Sbhah Slfhah. 
P.ChsifaMiya 







BEGINNING 10 JANUARY 1988 BY AMRITLAL 



ARIES (21 Manh-^ April) 

Even though a hectic week 
lies ahead of you. do not 
overwoi'k yourself. You are 
advised to control your 
temper if you want to avoid problems. This 
is the right time to catch up with your 


correspondence. Love and romance are 
indicated. At home children will be deman- 
ding, but deal with them diplomatically. 
Businessmen are advised to refrain from 
investing in risky ventures. 

Good dates: 10. 11 and 12 
Lucky numbers: 2. 4 and 6 
Favourable direction: South 



LEO (21 JtttyL -20 August) 

This is a good week for you. 
A change of job or resi- 
dence is likely. Business- 
men are advised to make 
use of all the opportunities that come their 
way. An elderly relative might turn against 
you and ruin your plans. Be tactful while 
dealing with your superiors. Love and 
romance are indicated. A letter might bring 
glad tidings. You might have to undertake 
an unexpected journey. 

Good dates: 11. 12 and 13 
Lucky numbers: 4. 5 and 6 
Favourablo direction: North-east 



SAGIHARIUS (21 
bar— 20 Oocofflber) This is a 
good week for those in the 
legal profession. Profes- 
sionals will do fairly well. 
Your financial prospects are not too bright. 
Businessmen should avoid speculation. 
The stars are favourable for romance. Your 
family will be a source of joy to you. 
Consult your elders before undertaking a 
journey. For doctors and politicians, the 
period is a favourable one. 

Good dates: 12. 13 and 14 
Lucky numbers: 5, 8 and 9 
Favourable direction: North 


TAURUS (21 April~20 May) 

The planets do not favour 
you this week but do not 
worry because the stars will 
turn in your favour. There 
will be some progress on the professional 
front Exercise tact m both the written and 
the spoken word. Students will be provided 
with opportunities to pursue their studies 
abroad. Be careful while dealing with your 
superiors. Take care of your health. This is 
the right time to get married. 

Good dates: 11 . 13 and 15 
Lucky numbers: 1. 3 and 5 
Favourablo direction: North 


VIRGO (21 August— 20 
September) This week will 
prove to be a happy one. A 
romance is indicated. You 
may have to change your 
job or place of residence. An elderly lady 
may give you valuable help and advice. 
Businessmen must be speculative in their 
dealings. The domestic front will prove to 
be a source of great joy. Those employed 
in the government services must be ex- 
tremely careful about their health. 

Good dates: 14. 15 and 16 
Lucky numbers: 1. 4 and 5 
Favourable direction: North-west 


CAPRICORN (21 December— 
20 January) This week, the 
stars are not in your favour, 
Professionals and 
businessmen will face stiff 
competitron from others. Guard against 
friends and relatives who might deceive 
you. Employees are likely to be misunder- 
stood by their colleagues. The domestic 
front will not be calm. Do not antagonise 
your elders. Wait till the stars are favo 
urable, before you take any action 
Good dates: 10. 11 and 14 
Lucky numbers: 1. 6 and 7 
Favourable direction: South-east 






GEMINI (21 May-20 June) 

This is a particularly favour- 
able week for business- 
men. Guard against people 
who might create problems 
for you. Try and sort out your problems as 
early as possible. There may be a lucrative, 
but dubious offer, so do not take unnece- 
ssary risks. Creative artists and writers will 
gain recognition. For those in the services, 
a promotion is likely. A short trip is foretold. 
Control your temper. 

Good dates: 12. 14 and 16 
Lucky numbers: 3, 5 and 7 
Favourable direction: East 


LIBRA (21 September— 20 
October) If you have plans 
to change your job, consult 
your eiders before doing 
so. You may have to shoul- 
der additional responsibilities at home. 
Employees are likely to be criticised by 
their superiors. Friends and relatives will be 
particularly helpful this<week. Sportsmen 
should be careful about their health. Stu- 
dents should not waste time. A letter will 
bring good news. 

Good dates: 12, 14 and 15 
Lucky numbers: 4. 5 and 9 
Favourable direction: South-west 




AQUARIUS (21 Januai^-20 

February) This is not a 
favourable week for you. 
Do not indulge in specula- 
tive ventures because you 
will incur losses. Businessmen and profes- 
sionals should be cautious while dealing 
with superiors. Guard against people who 
might harm you. Even close friends and 
relatives are not to be trusted. A love affair 
might end abruptly. Your health will de- 
teriorate. 

Good dates: 12, 15 and 16 

Lucky numbois: 2, 3 and 8 
Favourablo diractlon: North-west 


CANCER (21 Juno-20 July) 

The period is favourable for 
romance, but not for mat- 
rimonial negotiations. Do 
not overstrain yourself this 
week. For those in the judiciary, the time is 
favourable. Since the period is favourable 
for speculative ventures, you could head 
for the stock exchange right away. Do not 
ignore the advice of eiders. Some of you 
may win a lottery. Women might receive 
expensive gifts. 

Good dales: 10. 12 and 14 
Lucky numbort: 6 , 7 and 8 
Favourable direction: West 


SCORPIO (21 October— 20 
November) This is a favour- 
able week for you. Artists 
and sportsmen will do parti- 
cularly well. Children will be 
a source of joy. Even though you will make 
some financial gains, do not be extrava- 
gant. Lovers can go ahead with matrimonial 
plans. Those above the age of fifty-seven 
should be careful about their health. A 
pleasure trip is in the offing— 4>ut a close 
relative might fall ill and upset your plans. 
Good dates: 10. 13 and 14 
Lucky numbers: 2. 6 and 7 
Fevduroble direction: South-east 


PISCES (21 FRSruary-20 
March) A word of caution: 
do not take any risks with 
money matters in the com- 
ing months. Keep your em- 
ployers and superiors In good humour, but 
do not allow a member of the opposite sex 
to interfere in your professional matters. 
Businessmen will be rewarded for their 
efforts. A pleasant surprise awaits you at 
the weekend. Those connected with the 
arts are likely to receive recognition. 
Good dotOK 12. 13 and 16 
I LttBfcy numborc 1. 6 and 9 
|> Fmuiablo diroclion; West 






SiMf Portnois: CuBiBr— SoQlttsrlus 

. lan is generous ar . ‘ dKarndng. Since he places a great value on freedom, the Cancer woman must 
him for what he is. A frierbJsIjilnfV^ this man would prove to be less nerve-racking thm a relationship 
bond. Since he places a^great eApMs^ &ex. she rhust learn to channelise her interests in that 

rectlon. 


76 







\#onsumers need not wori- 
ry anymore about their *tele- 
phonic* probiema. They can 
take their grievances to 
‘court*. The first hearing of 
the telephone adaktvtds 
recently held at the Tele- 
phone Bhavan in Calcutta. 
According to 

A.S. Wal^, general mana- 
ger; Calcutta Telephones, 
complaints against pluines 
not working were not heard 
at the adafat because they 
were of a routine nature and 
would be sorted out even- 
tually. .The telephone adafat 
I was an experiment, said 
I Wakhle, and there might be 





another one in the next few 
months. One need not chew 
off ones nails in desperation 
when the telephone is not 
working->the telephone 
adafat will give you a fair 
hearing. 


Indian has made it to 
the Guinness Book of World 
Records again! And this time 
it isrnot for spor^ the 
longest naib, hair m: beard. 
Pransukh Naik, a Gujarati 
stage actor, wiDfindaplaoe 
in die 1989 edition of the 
Guokness Bbok for having 
acted m 22,455 plays tan 
December 1966. Nafic who 
took to acting from the ten- 
der age of nkie, played 
foBiale roles for the first 40 
years of his career, and then 



Pianaukh NaHc: winning applauaa 


switched over to comic 
roles. The man who enthral- 
led his audience wherever he 
went, is now no more in a 
position to draw crowds as 
he has been afflicted with 
cancer. The Amarsinh 
Chaudhary government has 
offered him Rs 5,000 but the 
people of the drama world 
have been very insensitive 
even though Naik is one of 
their tribe. It*s truly a matter 
of shame for all Indians who 
make lofty speeches on uni- 
versal brotherhood. 


Imagine the chief executive 
of a company coming to you 
to retrieve a diary or a calen- 
dar that has been given to 
you by his organisation. This 
is exactly what is about to 
happen. .Since the country is 
facing the worst drought of 


the century, the Prime 
Minister has decided not to 
send out greeting cards this 
y ear. Instructions were hur- 
riedly issued to the secretar- 
ies of all the minist ries and 
public sector undertakings to 
ensure that no calendars, 
greetinjgs cards and diaries 
were distributed. Tlie secre- 
taries realized something the 
Prime Minister's office had 
not — that most public sector 
undertakings i^t their paper 
accessories printed much 
earlier, llie effects of this 
austerity stance have been 
ridiculous. Officials of various 
companies are seen frantical- 
ly scurrying around trying to 
retrieve the paper accessories] 
which have already been dis- 
tributed. Hundreds of diaries 
and calendars wiU now be 
useless, in some cases , the 
printed items are likely to fill 
up a floor if allowed to pile 
up. 


History books could well 
have to be re-written. The 
man responsible for an earth- 
shaking feat is ex-army 
education corps instructor 
K.K. Raman who claims to 
have discovered the key to 
^he Harappan seals after 35 


years of relentless research. 
The information Raman cul- 
led from the seals revealed 
that India was dirided into 
three equal regions, that 
women occupied an exalted 
place in society and there 
was a priestly class and 
anot)ier that specialised in 
navigation. Raman, howev- 
er, is not yet ready to reveal 
his “key” to the world. *It 
seems that there are in- 
teresting times ahead of us. 


#iLre Indians more sus- 
ceptible to heart diseases 
than their Western counter- 



have arteries that are smaller 
than those of Western pa- 
tients? These and more 
questions wid be answered in 
February 1988, at yet 
another International Con- 
gress on coronary heart dis- 
eases. The focus, this year, 
will be on the new techniques 
of coronary bypass surgery. 
Efforts are now 
being made to reduce the 
number of heart attack vic- 
tims 1^ a process known as 
coronary angioplasty. It is 
estimated tint by 1990, 
more than four 1^ aiigio- 
plasties would have been 
done alt over the world at a 
price which is one-third tbs 
present cost of bypass 
surgery. Heart patients can 
have something to look for- 
ward to. 


THIS INDIA 


• JAMMU: When Hanuman was ragaHng taRy-vlewere by 
bMrnlno down Lanka, lha peopla or BIsnah and Baii- 
Bnhmanan anaotad Hanuman’s andca by aatiing flia to the 
bMoas of ttM Pgwar Oapartment Repioilodiy whan the 
power supply was suapendad lust batora the talaeaat of 
the popular sarlal, an irate mob oouM not conMnihaIr fuiy. 
lhay retaReiad by buininp tha offleaa of ttia . Power 
Oapanmant-'nie TMtana (tJS, ChSbbn, Chandlj^) 
w-TIliUPAII: LoM VahkateMiwara, tha praaldbip dally of 
Yfrumaia raoeniv iMwiyad .a strange ihodsm 
' ipM-^fkidlna tnamne^ AoeoMlni^ atampiB offieW, iha 
' dlMiM;w«efouMwmmtha MniWwaaainpMfoo^^ 
gfobowMSlang , 

. . tt^-had also, basin <U. HP|^; 

V A;a$iiMs''Paia a po(^'.hai|P" 

if Wah iaHH-har piKsmalwlM 

arJd^,aha1hraaiarNMlt6{|la 
wiefiiaad w bwa#. 







77 




DIPR.292 1/MS/a7:EN»Cl«nl 




MUCH ADO 

ABOUT 

JUDGES 

T he bitter battle between ' 
NTRandtheCongres- 
s(I) has taken an interesting 
turn. While the saffron-clad 
chief minister of Andhra 
Pradesh has agreed to insti- 
tute an enquiry into the 200- 
odd charges levelled against 
him and his family, the most 
important question still re- 
mains elusive: who will head 
the enquiry commission? 

NTR, who had joined the 
Opposition in criticising the 
Hiakkar-Natarajan Commis- 
sion report on Fairto, 
obviously wants a High Court 
judge to go through the 
charges. But the Congress(I) 
is bent upon seeing that NTR 
is made to appear before a 
judge of the Supreme Court. 
Recently, Uie attorney- 


general of India, K. Para- 
sharan, and NTR’s counsel, 
Ramjethmalani, exch^ged 
angry words over the issue 
but the problem remained 
unresolved. Perhaps, the 
two warring parties could 
settle for what Chandrababu 
Naidu, the CM*s son-in-law, 
has suggested: go to the 
people's court- 


man FOR ALL 
SEASONS 

A Ithou^ their personali- 
#%ties are poles apart, 
Ramakrishna Hedge and 
Gundu Rao have shared 
something other than tte 

chief minister's gaddi. Both 
men have had a common 
personal assistant-cum- 
spedal officer, K. Ramappa. 
The low profile safari suit- 
clad officer has made his way 
through various ministries to 
make it to the coveted posi- 
tion of secretary to the most 

powerful authority in the ^ 

state. Ramappa s 
association with 
Hegde goes back 
more tlian two de- 
cades when he was 
the personal assis- 
tant to HegSe, who 
was then the fi- 
nance minister in 
Nijalingappa’s gov- 
ernment, llie poli- 
tical turbulence 
which catapulted 

Devaraj Urs to 
power did not 
affect Ramappa, 
who 




Chief rnmialw Ramakrlthn* 

continued as PA to one of 
Urs* ministers. He made his 
mark even there, for when 
Gundu Rao took over in 
1980, he made Ramappa his 
PA. Meanwhile, however. 
Ramappa did not forget the 
thenjanata Party general 
secretary, and kept in touch 
with He^e even when he 


NX Rama Rao: In a tight spot 





i;traaladhand 
*■38 out of power. That 

betp^ and when He^un- 
expertadly became the dnef 

miSter in 1983, Ramappa 8 
services were requistoc^. 

As apedal (rfficer to the CM, 

Ramappa is one rft^wto 

> imatgetthecr^tforbuild- 
^ msuptheanw^puhbe 

! taKwe that Hegde th^MW*- 
i He always sticks to the CM, 
and takes care of his visitors. 
But what of his association 
with Gundu Rao? The 


no mora a playboy 

shrewd diplomat that Ramap- 
pa is, he does not forget to 
msdee courtesy calls to the 
ex-chief minister. But he 

shrugs off any question of 

conflict of interest. "When I 
was with Gundu Rao, 1 was 

loyal to him,” he says. 

adding, “but now I am loyal 
to Hegde.” 

CHAUVINISNI, 
HEGDE STYLE 

I S the 61 -year-old Ramak- 
rishna Hegde a male 
chauvinist? Or, why else 

should the suave chief minis- 
ter think that women make 
poor administrators. In a re- 
cent interview to Sijnday 
Hegde, while defending the 
size and composition of his 
cabinet, remarked: “A lady 
minister... you know, how 
much competence can you 
expect?” Reafising, perhaps, 

that he had put his foot m hB 

mouth, the wUy He^e tned 

... tir. Ktr lanohiflff SWaV 


the remark. The Karnataka 

CM, H seems, has come a 

long way from the Sixties and 
early Seventies period when 
he would frequent the cock- 
tail circuits in Delhi and enjoy 
the company of pretty 
women, o 


79 


•UMIAV tO-isJM>y ^ 





A ttlll from Mahayaln/AntarlaUJain: controvoralal film 


assistant commissioner of 
police. When his flight 
touched down at Calcutta 
aiiport« the police officer was 
waiting in a car to whisk him 
away to his hotel. Apparent- 
ly, the officer was later 
assigned to more important 
jobs when it became obvious 
that the celebrity was in no 
danger of being attacked by a 
mob screaming for Sunil 
Gavaskar's blood! ^ 


* The Prime Minister's holiday 
I in the Lakshadweep began 
I with a splash—literally! Even 
j while the Opposition was 
crying itself hoarse about the 
fishy business of Rajiv Gan- 
dhi's Lakshadweep vaca- 


Twentieth century India has 
a new catch-word. It’s not 
computer, as Rajiv Gandhi 
would have us believe, but 
sati. Ever since the Deorala 
incident, politicians have lost 
no opportunity in making 
capital of the tragic episode. 
And now it seems, even in 
film circles, the woid is being 
bandied about. First it was 
Ismail Merchant’s film, The 
Deceivers, which was ac- 
cused of glorifying sati. Now. 
it's Gautam Ghose’s turn 
to be hauled up on the same 
charge. 

The decision of the Censor 
Board not to pass his bi- 
lingual film, Mabayatra/Ana- 
tarjalijatra raised a storm of 
protest not just from Ghose 
but other well-known names 
in film and literary circles. 
Said Satyajit Ray. 'There is 
nothing objectionable with 
the film." Writer Dibyendu 
Palit said. "The Board has 
insulted Kamal Majumdar’s 
classic novel by not passing 
the film.” Ghose, of course, 
denied the charge vehement- 
ly, declaring, "The film has 
condemned the ritual.” But 
his optimistic declaration that 
the revising committee’s de- 
cision would be 'favourable”, 
has proved to be prophetic. 
The 1 2 -member revising 
committee has struck off the 
Censor’s previous observa- 
tions and passed the film. 
Well, a little bit of con- 
troversy never did anyUxiy 
any harm.^ 


The Little Master neither 
forgives nor forgets a slight. 

So when during a match in 
the Eden Gardens, the Cal- 
cuttans booed him and threw 
orange peels at his wife, he 
vowed never to play again in 
Calcutta. Till he retired, 
Sunil Gavaskar kept his 
word, never mind the fact 
that he was helped in his goal 
by the Indian team's defeat in 
the semi-finals of the Re- 
liance Cup. But now that he 
doesn’t have the protection 
of an entire team, and the 
organisers of a match, is 
Gavaskar scared to visit the 
city without police protec- 
tion? It would seem so, if 
recent events are any indica- 
tion, The star player-tumed- 
editor who was down in Cal- 
cutta on a journalistic assign- 
ment, was provided with a 
police escort, of the rank of ■, 

I 



Sunil OavaataNT'' liijwiASf 
prolacUon? 


tion — ^for which his Italian 



Rally QandhI: advantura m 
Lakahadwaap 

in-laws are also said to have 
. been invited— Gandhi strol- 
! led along the sunbathed 
j beaches with his family and 
j SGP commandos in tow. He 
, even did his good deed for 
' the day by diving into the 
water to save a whale which 
had strayed into the shallow 
waters. Since the comman- 
dos have strict instructions 
to follow the PM every- 
where, they had little choice 
but to dive in with Gandhi. 
The crowd which had 
gathered too followed suit 
and in the general melee that 
ensued, the whale was 
pushed back into the waters. 
But will Rajiv Gandhi find a 
benevolent saviour when the 
Opposition gets ready to sink 
its teeth into the nitty-gritty 
of his exotic getaway to Lak- 
shadweep?^ 

As a veteran politican, Giani 
Zail Singh masked his feel- 
ings with the elan worthy of 
any professional actor. 


Singh is out of the rough and 
tumble of politics but the 
years of experience seems to 
be coming in handy now that 
the former President is play- 
ing himself in a feature film 
which chronicles his life and 
times. The cameras have 
already started rolling and 
the shooting will be held 
among other places, in his 
hometown in Faridkot, diffe-. 
rent locales in Punjab and 
Haryana and also in the 
USSR. The film tells the 
story of the carpenter's son 
who went on to become a 
freedom fighter, a politician 
in independent India and 
finally the President of the 
country.^ 


What do Bishan Singh Bedi, 
Ananda Shankar and Viv 
Richards have in common? 
All of them have liad the 
dubious distinction of being 


Zall Singh: facing the camaraa 




80 


thrown out of the premises 
of exclusive clubs for being 
'unsuitably' dressed. The 
latest casualty of the dress 
code syndrome was the 
West Indies captain Viv 
Richards who turned up at 
the Saturday Club, in Calcut- 
ta, with television celebrity, 
Neena Gupta, to u^her in 
the New Year. But to their 
utter dismay, they found that 
they were not welcome. 

Unfazed by the criticism 




that the Calcutta Club invited 
when it turned out noted 
musician Ananda Shankar for 
not adhering to the club's 
dress code, the Saturday 
Club authorities too didn't 
hesitate in showing the cou- 
ple the door. But, perhaps, 
what is likely to be of more 
interest is the fact that 
Neena Gupta preferred to 
waltz away till the wee hours 
of the New Year with the 
cricket star than her fiance 
Sharang Dev.^ 


Can a ten-year-old be an 
accomplished dancer, weU- 
versed in the compl^ mo- 
tions' of Bharat Natyam and 
Kuchipudi? Bamona Basu 
proved at the four-day long 
Golden Greats Festival, held 
from 16 December in Calcut- 
ta, that despite her youth, 
she had mastered the intrica- 
cies of die art of classical 
dance. So did the other expo- 


Nftna Gupta and VIv Rlcharda: tht calabrity caaualtlas 


nents of classical dance and 
music, at the festival, which 
was organised by the 
Sangeet Research Academy. 
The theme of the festival 
was mooted to highlight the 
fact that there are many such 
talented young maestros. 
And as the under-40 perfor- 
mers displayed their skills, it 
was once again a celebration 
of India's vast cultural 
heritage. ^ 


Can a cricketer tell the Board 
of Cricket Control in India 
(BCCl) to ^ to hell and get 
away with it? Yes, it seems 
to be so, at least in the case 
of captain Dilip Verigsar- 
kar who threw the contract 
out of the window at the first 
opportunity and penned off a 
cdumn to Dev Features, 
which was promptly snapped 
up by a national daily. He has 
not r stopped writing ever 
since, iiever mind the clause 
which forbade him from 
doing so' when a series is in 
progress. Not only did it 
constitute a breach of con- 
tract, but to add insult to 
ipjury the over-indul|^ pack 


of Indian cricketers shot off a 
letter to the BCCl threaten- 
ing to take "suitable action" if 
their captain was penalised. 
As expected, the BCCl was 
r tiaged and promised ’ ' 
N bring the errant ^ 

cricketer to book. But * 

little has been 
Dilip VengMrkar: throwing the . 
contract to tho winds 



done by the BCCl as Veng- 
sarkar continues to lose 
matches and earn pots of 
money by contributing his 
columns to every other 
newspaper. ^ 


The formula has never 
changed and the cash regis- 
ters too have never stopped 
ringing. Manmohan Desai 
is the emperor of the box- 
ofUce whose contemporaries 
have been in awe of *his 
Midas touch but whose cri- 
tics have left no stone un- 
turned in tearing his films 
apart. But now, it seems that 
Desai has found an admirer in 
a most unexpected quarter. 
An American critic. Connie 
Haham, a professor of cine- 
ma at Texas University, is as 
addicted to Desai's masala 
films as the man on the 
street. But Haham has gone 
one step further and in a 
critique has compared De- 
sai’s work to that of Billy 
Wilder. Desai. she says, like 
Wilder, "wraps his messages 



Manmohan Otaai: amparor 
ofthaboi-offlca 

in nonsensical, 
highly enler- 
^ taining but 

easily opened 
packages". 

’x Now. is it possi- 
X ble to derive 
. ^me sense out 

of the three 
hours of non- 
sense that Desai usually 
Churns out? Ms Haham 
would have us believe so, but 
wtot about the Indian critics. 
Will they be willing to view 
Desai’s trash with new eyes? 

Compiltd by Adito 
4 ChattorjM 




ARORA’SEXIT 

W hy was Gopi Arora 
sfufted from the Prime 
I Minister's office (PMO)? 
Two stories are doing the 
rounds. One. that Kajiv is 
turning rightwards and that 
Arora. with his Marxist bent, 
was a misfit in the PMO. The 
other, that Mrs Serla Grew- 
al. Rajiv's secretary, con- 
spired to engineer his fall. 

However, there is a third 
story told by those who 
know Arora well that may 
make the most sense. 
Apparently. Arora, whose 
hatred of publicity is well- 
known. was tired of being 
blamed by the world for ev- 
ery decision that emanated 



Gopi Arora: ahimtad out? 


from the PMO and longed for 
a job that took him out of the 
firing-line. 

But why did Rs^v make 
him information and broad- 
casting secret^? Surely, 
this is a demotion? Apparent- 
ly not. It seems Arora 
wanted to do some “crea- 
tive*’ work and 1 and B gave 
him the best outlet for Ms 
energies. 

In any case, the PMO will 
find it difficult to manage 
I without Arora’s ability to 
I conceptualise issues and his 
I capacity for hard work. 


A CIVIC ISSUE 


T he extension of the term 
of the Metropolitan 
Council of Delhi and the De- 


lhi Municipal Corporation, it 
is learnt, does not imply — as 
the Opposition seems to be- 
lieve— that the CongFess(I) 



Sam PItroda: tha^^a t^hnleat advlaor 


is afraid of elections. 
Apparently, the decision to 
prolong the life of the two 
dvic b^es is aimed at catch- 
ing the Opposition unawares. 
The Delhi unit of frie Con- 
gress(I) is still continuing its 
preparation for a dvk poD 
. while the BJP leaders are 
busy protesting the decision 
I to “postpone” the election. 


And the other is Satyen 
’Sam* Pitroda, the telephone 
man who has suddenly 
emerged as a technical advis- 
er to ^jiv. Pitroda has been 
saying these things for some 
time now and it seems, he 
has finally swung Rajiv his 
way. 

j Expect to hear more about 
I Pitro^ in the months ahead. 


SAM, THE 
SUPERMAN 

R ajhr-watchers say that 
the Prime Minister’s 
shift to the rii^t is qualita- 
tively different from his 
right-wing stance in those 
heady 1985/19% days of 
Camelot At that stage, Ra- 
jiv’s perceptions were essen- 
tially those of a Doon School- 
boy who thou^ that if the 
pe^e he socialised with 
I were happy, then all was well 
with the worid. 


Now, R 2 giv is talking in 
terms of ’creating wealth’ 
and introducing competition 
! .into rural agriculture. Where 
I have thes^nbw ideas come 
from? Two sources are men- 
tioned. One is Gopi Arora, 
who is n««r ^tethe Falw. 


idealoguehis.] 
him out to bi^. 



GURUMURTHY 

STRIKES 

W ho was ’that advocate* 
who drafted Zail 
Singh's famous letter to Ra- 
jiv? Among the candidates 
are: Arun Jaitley,F. S. Nari- 



Qurumurthy: drafting a 
centrovaray 


man, Soli Sorafaijee and Ram 
Jethmalani. But, in fact, none 
of them was involved. As 
even a cursory exaihination 
of the English (pre- 
Mulgaokar’s corrections) re- 
veals, it was none other than 
journalist- cum - accountant- 
cum-counsellor- cum- 
scourge of Reliance-cum- 
Bhure Lai’s guru: the one and 
only S. Gurumurtliy! 


UNNI,THE 

DADA 


P oor Upendra! He needs 
to learn how to manage 
the media. The biggest t)^ 
that happened to him was 
when he had his celebrated 



UnnSertohnan ftoplmd Upsndra: 
vying for piMMIy ^ 

aitercation with Sonia Gandhi 
at Hyderabad Airport. But 
hai^ had the poor man 
begun to wring publicity gut 
of the encounter wh^ the 
burly K. P. Unnilqnshnap, 

(one of the three membm of 
the Congress-S) gibowed his 
way into the firay and said it 
was aU a nnsuridefttaiiidmg. 

Actually, daim^ Unn. 
Sonia had mistaken Upqftta 
for him. So it was really his 
show. Faced with his public- 
ity counter-coup,. Ihe hapless 
Upendra folded his ahop^ 
went home, bereft.a 


82 


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W.*' CONTEmS^ 


VOLUME IS n ISSUE 8 n RS S.M' 


SD^ 


AN ANANDA BAZAR PUBLICATION 


17— 23 JANUARY 1M8 


COVER STORY 26 
WIVES AND LOVERS 

The intense and ^«tter infighting 
within the AlADMK over the 
succession issue has split MGR’s 
party into two warring camps. 
Thou^ tliejanaki- Veerappan 
combine has scored a temporary 
victory, the all-powerful 
Jayalalitha is mustering support 
among party MLAs. An account of 
the drama that catapulted Janaki 
to power. Also, profiles of the two 
women that MGR left behind. 

NEWSWATCH 12 

GUILTYI 

For the beleaguered chief 
minister of Andhra Pradesh, N.T. 
Rama Rao, the recent Court 
judgement on several cluirges 
against him has come as a major 
blow. Will N'TK be able to tide 
over the crisis? 

POLITICS 16 

THECONGRESSCirS 
THREE FUNNY MEN 

ftam Rattan Ram, K.N. Singh and 
N.C. Chaturvedi, tlie three 
general secretaries of the 
Congress(l), constitute a hilarious 
trio in the AlCC(l). Profiles of the 
three general secretaries. 


SPECIAL REPORT 20 

THE LEFT CHALLENGE 



The Leftists are, for the first time 
in years, challenging the 
Congress(l) at the Centre. Rather 
than over-confidence, the move 
reflects the Left's shrewd 
calculations. 

FOCUS 49 

SETTING A NEW COURSE 

ITie era of international 
conferences is over. Gurudas 
Kamat's new Youth Congress will 
eschew good manners and take 
the battle to the streets. 



Page 72 


COMMENT 

OpiiiioD4 
Byline MJ.Akbar 6 

Gossip Sweet and Sour Khnshwant Singh 9 
Sight and Sound 11 
Business Diary 55 
Bodyline Ravi Shankar 88 

OTHERDEPARTMENTS 

Deccan Diary 87 
Delhi Diary 90 


Cover transparencies: George Francis 
Cover artwork: Sandip Bhattacharya 


PrinM and puMiriMd for AnwdB Btiar Pa»M Ud W as Kumv Bmu ind adliid 
W Awaak Swhar tarn a a • Pirafiaa Sariiar SMil Caleiida ^ 
AlraurahaiBalBrNoft rf ai l B m a t aaaaP p aiaa Od nigaf wrn iai U ndTrtpiiM 


INVESTIGATION 36 

ANOTHER LAND 
SCANDAL 

After Bhajan Lil and Bansi 1 al. 
yet another chief minister of 
H.ir>'ana. Devi Ijil. has found 
himself in the midst of a laiid 
scandal involving liis two sons. 
What is the murky deal all about? 
An indepth report. 


PERSONALITY 46 
THE VIDEO DOCTOR 

Is Siip^ owner and EJP 
functionary Dr J.K. Jain making 
video films for Opposition 
profMifl^uxIa? Does he have a 
certificate firom the Censor 
Board? A report. 


PERSPECTIVE 56 

THE DILEMMA OF OUR 
POLITICAL PARTIES 

in the competitive field of Indian 
politics, are personalities more 
important thw ideology? Do our 
politicians really believe in what 
they preach? An analysis. 


BOOK EXTRACT 60 
SAHHmYANDROISE 
GETS MADE 

In this extract, Hanif Kureishi 
describes the making of his 
controversial film, Sammy and 
Rosie Get Laid. 


PLACES 66 

TRAVELOGUE MADRAS 

Cartoonist Ravi Shankar takes a 
look at Madras society. 


BUSINESS 51 


PERFORMING ARTS 72 

THE RETURN OF THE 
NATIVE 

Indian folk art. which was so long 
dismissed as crude and primitive, 
is suddenly making a steady 
comeback. Sunday takes a look at 
some of these quaint but inspiring 
traditional theatre forms. 

Khans Baat 80 
Small Screen 81 
Sundayweek82 
Odds and Trende 89 
Spotlight 88 




OPINION 



ARTFORTHE 

RICH 

Y our cover story reveals 
that art has become 

, hi({hly commercial (The 

I art biaar, 27 December— 2 
January). For the rich, works 
ctf art ha ve become status 
symbols; but only a few 
underst^ paintings they 
purchase. A host of midd!e- 
dass people who want to 
imitate the rich in every 
possible way, have also be* 
gun to buy expensive paint- 
ings. Unfortunately, all these 
peqple who are buying works 
of art are doing little to 
promote art in our country; 
they are only using the 
artists' drawings to decorate 
their drawing rooms, (kxid 


art cannot survive in the 
I hands of businessmen and 
I fo|». In fact, the paintings 
I which attract our yuppies and 
pseudo-inteUectuals are sel- 
dom good works of art. If 
someone like Husain is cater- 
ing for the tastes of yuppies, 
it only means the he will 
never reach the level of 
Leonardo da Vind or Vincent 
VanGogla. 

AaMosA OisHSl, MnargRWd 

■husain and Bikash Bhat- 
tacharjee have done to Indian 
art what Sunil Gavadcar has 
done to Indian cricket. Be- 
cause of them modem Indian 
art is being recognised by 
connoisseurs abroad. 
However, while young 
cricketers who are emulating 
(Javaskar ea^ come into 
the limelight if they are 
talented, talented artists are 
seldom so lucky. I am sure 
diere are hundreds of young 
painters in our country who 
are as talented as Husain and 
Bhattachar jce . But who cares 
for them? The so-called pat- 
rons of art are only in- 
terested in big names and not 
in talent. The Indian artists 



who have made it big are 
themselves not interested in 
the young boys and girls who 
are emulating them. 



■1 1 is heartening to note that 
the present-day artists 
manage to earn a decent 
living. Gone are the days 
when almost every painter 
had to live a life of poverty 
and be rewarded only post- 
humously. But there is the 
other side of the penny too. 
The works of contemporary 
artists are so expensive that 
common art lovers cannot 
afford to pay for a single 
canvas. These works often 
end up in the drawing rooms 
of ridi men who understand 
nothing of art. Efforts should 
be made to publish albums of 
selected works of great pain- 
ters and market them with 
reasonable price tags. 

Incidentally, Sunday 
should also b^ out a cover 
story on Indian sculptors. 



■ 1 must congratulate you 
for brm£^ out a cover story 
OR Indian artists. Ihopeyou 
wiO also publish a rep^ on 
our scul^rs and craftsmen. 

A^Yai&¥,lMeliuom(Untt 


Who cares for art in a 
country where half the 
people live below the 
poverty Une? 


NO ONE IS A 
FOOL 




people's level of con- 
sciousness is not as low 


as M.J.. Akbar imagines 
(ByMne, 27 December— 2 
January). The Swedish au- 
ditor gmral has already ex- 
plained that commissions 
were prid in the Bofors deaL 
So the people know that 
comnusaions were paid. 

They are only trying to figure 
out who took the commis- 
sions. The Prime Minister 
himself may not be involved 
in the deal but he seems to 
be shieldiiig those who are 


guilty. He could have got 
hold of the portion of ^ 
auditor gene's report 
which contained the names of 
the people who received the 
kidfoadcs. After this he 
could have taken action 
a^unst them. The Prime 
Minister's remark that he 
has got more information 
from Bofors than it was ex- 
pected is a joke. He is in fact 
making every effort to stop 
the truth from coming out 
No wonder he has taken care 
to fill the parliamentary com- 
mittee on Bofors with his 
own men. The Bofors issue 
won’t die until the people 
hear the truth. 

MinAmi Awiiiaai 

CALL FOR STERN 
MEASURES 

^\ur former cricket cap- 
\^tain, Mansur Ali Khm 
Pataudi, must be praised for 
his bold statement ag^st 
our present team (Ciidret's 
mercenaries, 27 Decem- 
ber— 2 January). He has 
rightly said that Dilip Veng- 
sMkar should first prove Ids 
mettle as a captain before 
worrying about his artides in 
newspapers and about weai- 
mg logos. So far theCridcet 
Qmtrol Board has been too 
lenient with the cricketers 
who have violated the con- 
tract The board is well with- 
in its rights to take steps 
against the erring members 
of our cricket team. 


A HUMBLE 
ORIGIN 



gotten its royal traditiotis (A 
Mcy-tah wedding, 27 De- 
cember— 2 January). But the 
famity rose from humble ori- 
gins. RampjiScindiawho 
founded the family’s estab- 
lishment in Gwato was said 
to be the dipper-bearer of 
thePeshwaBaldiBiawa- 
nath. He rose to fame in 
1725 and became the king of 
Gwalior. The family became 


4 


dl the more ixiweiiul under 
Rampp's son Madhiji who 
signed the treaty of War- 
gaum with the British. 

PJd. i imn m, n ^ rwwn (OHma) 




I am not surprised that the 
popularity of Andhra 
Fra^sh chief minister N. T. 
Rama Rao is on the wane 
(ATTR; The6dlenhero, 27 
December-~2 January). 
There are many more cor- 
niptkm charges against NTR 
than there are against Rajiv 




Mk ' I 


HT. Rmiw Rao 

Gandhi The former demi- 
god of Andhra Pradesh rose 
to power when the people of 
his state were disillusioned 
with the Congress govern- 
ment But he has faM to 
live uiito the people's ex- 
pectations. 


FO 

ECOLOGICAL 


iifJiW: 


^Four report on the pro- 
I test march agunst the 
dtttnrbanoe (tf the ecological 
bahnce in the Western Qata 
(Apecplle’sjnarcb20— 26 
December) was both in* 
teresting and infonnative. 
The save Western Ghats 
March was in keeping with 
ttie sentiments of envirah 
mentaKsts. The pluA-and- 
plant saOfagnba of die en- 
vkomnent a lis t s t hemove 
to lephoe plants Bweucaljr- 


ptus with usehd pbnts— has 
been a great success. It is 
extremeljr important to pre- 
serve the eodogical bafamce 
in the r^poa The SFounger 
generation must not be dep- 
rived of a dean environment 


WANTED: AN 
INDIAN MICKEY 

I t is good to know that 
state governments are 
making efforts to activate 
'*Appu Ghars" in leading 
towns (WkitingfatMidcey, 
20—26 December). Howev- 
er, your article is lopsided in 
that it only deals with the 
problems and does not offer 
any solution. After importing 
foreign rides, paying custom 
duty and handing chiu^ 
buying requisite land and 
arranging for everything else 
to ready the amusement 
parks, it is not possible for 
entrepreneurs to achieve 
break even point within a 
reasonable period of time. 
Unless the equipment re- 
quired for the amusement 
parks are made indigenously, 
and offered to entrepreneurs 
at reasonable prices, these 
poihs cannot be financially 
viable. 

EVASIVE 

ANSWERS 

T he interview of Arun 
Nehru C7%e issue today 
isBoAxs, thePMbMsto 



Aiun Nalini: snlgaMlio 

prove btnselfclean\ 13—19 
December) was for from in- 
teresting. The former minis- 
ter of internal security 
evaded most of the questions 
that were posed to 1^ 
Though he spolm of his dif- 
ferences with Rqjiv Gandhi, 
he did not give the details, 
for some strange reason. On 
the other hand, he foiled to 
speak clearly about Opposi- 
tion unity. Nor did he say 
anything about such impor- 
tant national issues like the 
Ranuanamboomi/Babari 
Maqjid controversy. He 
seems to have no plans to 
deal with the problenu that 
have been plaguing the coun- 
try. IfRqjivisguiltyofany- 
tidng then Arun Nehru can at 
least be accused of keeping 
the nation in the dark; be 
should divulge all that he 
knows about the wrong- 
doings of his former associ- 
ates. 


KilKli:; 


Avallabig By Pott (inland) 

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K huahwant Sink’s article 
IKoihai 13-19De- 
cember) is defomatory . The 
author has said that the 
grave of J. A. Johnston re- 
mains unmarked while his 
plaito friends stin talk of 
raising fimds to put a marble 
alabl This is entirely false. 
When my husband, S. Pra- 
kaah, was the president of 
the Darjeeling Branch of the 
Indian Tea Association (now 
known as the Darjeeliug 
Phntor's Association) a sub- 
stantial ariiount was made 
available solely from the 
Planters' frmd and a beautiful 
Mack marble ^ve with a 
cross mentioniitg the date of 
Johnston's demise had been 
erected in 1985. 





THE LOYAL 


Li 


W e are shocked to note 
that you have called 
the foreign minister of 
Bangladesh, Mr Humayun 
Rasheed Choudbury, a 
“former Pakistani 
collaborator (A tale of two 
Benges, 13-19 December). 
This is certainly untrue. The 
role of our foreign minister 
during the liberation strugsle 
of Bangladeshis well knowiL 
You must be aware that 
foreign minister Humayun 
Rash^ Choudhury was the 
chief of the Barigladesh 
mission in Delhi durfog our 
war of liberation and played 
an effective role in securing 
the recognition of our new 
nation frm as many as 40 
countries. Mr Cho^ury, in 
his capacity as the then 
representative of the 
govermnent of Bangladesh in 
Delhi also had the privilege of 
breaki^ the news of the 
liberation of Bangbufe^ on 
16 December 1971. 



The error is regretted^ 
Editor 






A whale of a time 


W e have now begun to expect three things 
to happen around the year-end. First, that 
the Prime Minister will take a holiday. Second, 
that the bureaucracy will be shaken by some 
transfer or sacking. And third, that the Opposi- 
tion will be gifted with enough manna to feed its 
lungs a full year. 

Rajiv Gandhi, quite unfazed by the shrill 
criticism, went ahead and took his holiday. The 
stories began, of course, ranging from the 
properly cynical to the improperly absurd. Hut it 
is remarkable how the interest dipped once it 
became obvious that Amitabh Bachchan was not 
around (1 understand that the Soiled Shahenshah 
was there at Lakshadweep too. but even this did 
not excite the kind of comment we read last year 
probably because Bachchan's* travel plans 
were handled more discreetly.) If Rajiv Gandhi 
liad not done something so unusual that his 
critics refused to believe it happened, we might 
have been left with no story at all from 



Ra|lv Gandhi: tlma to aet 


Lakshadweep. Some of the more virulent critics 
are even going around suggesting it was a rubber 
whale set up for the cameras of obliging 
Doordarshan. but then so many initially refused 
to believe even that Rajiv Gandhi was nearly 
assassinated in Sri Lanka. This is what credibility 
is all about. If in 1985 Rajiv Gandhi had saved a 
mouse there would have been cries of “Oh, so 
sweet!" Now he goes and saves a whale and all 
they can say is that it was made of rubber. 
Clearly notl^ is more dangerous than to be 
loved intensely; for when that love tum^i to hate 
the anger becomes merciless. A large section of 
the urban middle class, parj^laxiy tr DpUii. is 
currently in hate with ^iv Gandk . tuid lie 
simply has to bear it. with or without g# 
For the poor the holidays mean somed^ 
else. It is not the concept of the holiday Which 


they resent; after all. unlike the urban middle 
class, particularly of the Delhi variety, the poor 
are not hypocrites. The middle class, safe in 
their protected jobs, will fight viciously to 
expand the numl^r of paid annual holidays at 
their command; they will cheat and collect their 
medical leave; they will take their casual leave 
with devoted care, and on top of aU that refuse to 
work in office even if there is a cricket match on, 
but no one else must be allowed to take a week 
off. That becomes anti-national. But let us leave 
this spurious class behind: far more relevant is 
the attitude of the poor. Their problem with the 
holiday lies in the image of elitism that it 
projects. It is the paraphernalia of the holiday 
rather than the holiday itself which is the issue 
for them. This is not an image which has 
emerged in isolation, or only because of this one 
signal; it is part of a perception which has been 
growing for three years. And it is this image 
which Rajiv GandU must do eveiything to 


NT. Rama Rao (laft) and Oavl Lai: claaring tha way for Raflv Gandhi 



ttfsdw 

pmptiemd h d 
theboNay rather 
thanthehoUay 
Kaaif which is the 
iawefortha 
poor..Jtiiditii 
this fanaie that 
Rapv Gandhi muat 
doevwyMngto 
changa b«for» 
theelectiom 



change in the months he has left before the 
elections. One of the most critical factors in this 
process, incidentally, will be the budget which 
Narayan Dutt Tewari will produce. And when 
Rajiv Gandhi travels this year, he has to 
remember that there is a state in this country 
called Bihar too. 

But to return to the second traditional New 
Year’s fiasco. Naturally, for those waiting for 
such a thing to happen, the transfer of Gopi 
Arora to the post of secretary in the ministry of 
information and broadcasting is the obvious 
example. One is sorry to disabuse such a 
convenient formula but to see any demotion in 
Gopi Arora’s transfer is to look at the craft of 
governance with a mule’s blinkers. 

Please do remember just one thing: if you 
want to humiliate a bureaucrat of such seniority, 
and such envious power while in the Prime 
Minister’s secretariat, the last thing you will do 
is to send him to the information and broadcast- 
ing ministty. For if anyone wants to damage a 
Prime Minister then there is absolutely no place 
in government from where one can do it better 
thm from the 1 and B ministry. If Rajiv Gandhi 
had wanted to shunt Gopi Arora out, or punish 
him, then you can rest assured that Mr Arora 
would have ended up somewhere nearer Lak- 
shadweep. It is far more sensible to view this as 
an attempt, at a critical period of this administra- 
tion's term, to help improve the government’s 



KkiM'lliiir: 

tnwiitftNt 
wohM hlM Imm 
ciiMaf^io 
wititf’ llowlit 
fONUMliawjia 
wtaleiiidailiMir 
CMuylithillt 
watiHiiliiif 

noMnf iiiiMM 
dmctraiiillMto 
biM 

niBIMlyflQi 

wINNIinillQfi 
Hinii 1110 niiB iM 

MgirbsooiMi 

iMidhsi 



and the Prime Minister’s image — which is about 
the most difficult task going, at the moment. 

While there can be debate on the merits of the 
first two of the* three traditional New Year 
Stories, vintage 1988, there seems to be a 
reversal of form on the third issue. It should 
have been Rajiv Gandhi who should have pro- 
vided grist to the Opposition’s mill; instead, two 
of the great stalwarts of the Opposition have 
literally handed over material for the Congress 
to exploit. And both are ranking members ut the 
Opposition; not small fry. First of course there is 
N.T. Rama Rao. One’s heart goes out to 
Upendra; almost singlehandedly he is doing his 
best to defend his leader’s reputation, but it is a 
task which would defeat even a Hercules. While 
on the subject, however, it needs saying that 
destroying the reputation of the judiciary simply 
in order to protect the reputation of a politician is 
not good news. Perhaps the best comment on 
the sulqect came from the inimitable Ramakrish- 
na Hegde. When asked about the Andhra High 
Court decision indicting NTR on seven charges 
of corruption, he simply replied that he disliked 
commenting on what judges did — and added that 
he had not said anything about the Thakkar- 
Natarajan Commission's report either. Subtle, 
almost to the point of being droll. But it is such 
finesse which has given Hegde th'^ high reputa- 
tion he has. 

But Devi proved even more generous to 
Rajiv Gandhi th^ NTR. What is happening in 
Hsuryana is, well, astonishing, to put it mildly. I 
mean, nepotism is hardly a new thing in Indian 
politics but such a level requires some imagina- 
tion. According to one report, as many as 53 
relatives of Devi Lai had acquired some position 
of authority or the other. ITie three sons were 
only the most visible cases. As for the principal 
activist (how else can one describe him?) Om 
Prakash Chautala, not a decision in the govern- 
ment apparently took place without him being 
involved — at least those decisions which had 
anything to do with the distribution of iargesse. 
And he has also been accused of misappropriat- 
ing dri^ght relief contributions: one of ^e most 
damaging charges possible in a land of peasants. 
All these stories have still remained in the 
confused world of accusations but for the fact 
that Devi Lai himself admitted that the corrup- 
tion of his sons had gone too far by demanding 
their resignations. (Till the moment of writing, 
however, Om Prakash’s resignation from the 
Rqjya Sabha has not reached the Speaker yet.) 
What perhaps Devi Lai did not bargain for was 
the hold his son had already acquired on the 
ministry and the state unit of the party: it 
required the whole government to resign en 
masse to allow Devi Lai some leeway. A pity, 
but this is what the first Opposition government 
of the north since 1980 has achieved in the short 
span of six months. Would you entrust the care 
of ^he nation to Om Pr^sh Chautala and 
company? 

May be the lesson of the new year is that 
everyone is having a whale of a time. Except, 
possibly, the whale.o 




In a world full of surprises 



...thank ^xxlness you can count on 

Boroline 


Antiseptic Perfumed Cream — 



jeal for dry skin and minor nicks and cuts 

ydof the family for 60 years 


CalcuttaTOOOSy 


I Boroltne is not a cosmetic 
Respxjnse UW 


GOSSIP SWEET AND SOUR 

KHUSHWANT SINGH , 


The rise of Bhindranwale 


My current pre- 
occupation is writing 
the last 15 years’ his- 
tory of the Punjab 
and the Sikhs. The 
one thing 1 have 
been unable to 
understand is the 
phenomenon of Jar- 
nail Singh Bhindranwale. When he first 
burst on the Punjab scene, 1 had dismis- 
sed him as one of the hundreds of rustic 
preachers who are found ail over the 
countryside where sants are a dime a 
dozen. When he entrenched himself in 
the Golden Temple complex and laun- 
ched on his anti-Hindu tirade I described 
him as a “demented hate-monger". 
When he was killed in Operation Blues- 
tar. I conceded that he had met his end 
like a warrior but also heaved a sigh of 
relief in the hope that we had heard the 
last of him. That is not so. His full-length 
portrait in the Gcilden Temple draws 
large crowds: to a sizable section of 
Sikhs he has become anur shaheed 
(eternal martyr). His photographs and 
cassettes of his sijeeches sell by the 
thousands. He continues to be vener- 
ated as Sant Baba Jamail Singhji Khalsa, 
Bhindranwale. His ghost haunts the 
Punjab countryside disturbing the sleep 
of the Punjabi Hindu and the conscience 
of the educated Sikh. 

How is it that a man who had so little 
to say that made sense and said so much 
that was hateful, came to gain so much 
populaiity? 1 dismiss the explanation 
often given that he was a creation of the 
Congres(I) think-tank consisting of, at 
the time. Mrs Gandhi. Zail Singh and 
Sanjay Gandhi. Neither Mrs Gandhi nor 
Sanjay ever set their eyes on him. Zail 
Singh talked to him once and saw him at 
a distance at another time. No doubt the 
Congress(i) did try to exploit his popu- 
larity; but so did the Akalis. Both parties 
were thoroughly mauled by him. Sant 
Longowal once described liim as saada 
danda (our stick) to beat the Congress 
government. The stick belaboured both 
the Akalis and the government. 

1 have at long last come across a 
plausible explanation of the Bhindran- 
wale phenomenon. In a compilation of 
essays I^unjab Today, edited by Gopal 
Singh of tlie Himachal University, there 
is a paper on Sikh revivalism by Pritam 
Singh of the Punjab University, Chandi- 
garh. It gives the background of the 

SUNDAY l7-<«3 Jtnutty lOM 



I AiMit ttt ttton thit 
BhMMiiiito wii 
vnngpiCliill n CollSliini 

offNIMtiNef MnCMM, Zril 
S^itidSiiflty GNidM. NeNhir 
MnlSandMiiorSaiHiytvtriet 
fiMir tvM on MMi ZiR SbKh M 
toMm tincGanii siwhimati 
oiinnon 91 inQiiinr iinin* M Qoim 
1lwCMigreM(l)dU1ryto«vM 

Miili,B«lhparttt>«ii«n 

conditions which made Bhindranwale 
possible. Believe it or not, most of it was 
due to the pn)sperity that came with the 
Green Revolution. With prosperity came 
degeneration, spread of alcoholism, 
smoking, drug addiction, gambiihg. blue- 
films, fornication. The worst sufferers 
were w(jmen and t'V'Idren, wives and 
offspring of peas? »t who. could Tiot 
digest their prospenty. On this scene 
came Bhindranwale preaching against 
these evils and carried on a vigorous 
campaign of Amritprachar. 

Everywhere he went he baptised 
Sikhs by the thousands and made them 
Bhlndranwal#: Ms msmory llvss cni 



swear in front of congregations that they 
would never again touch these things. 
'Fhey did not break their oath. Money 
previously squandered was saved. Time 
previously wasted in drunkenness or 
being stoned was now spent on more 
carefiil tillage — bringing more money. 
Bhindranwale saved a large section of 
Sikh peasantry from rack and ruin. 

It w^s,their women and children who 
arclaime'd him as a saviour and a saint: 
he w'as a good guy. 'I'o this image 
Bhindranwale put on a macho gloss of a 
tough man; bandolier charged with bul- 
lets across his hairy chest, pistol on his 
hip, in his hand a silver arrow like the 
one Maharajah Ranjit Singh used to 
carry. The crowds loved him when he 
referred to Indira Gandhi as pandit dee 
dhee (that daughter of a Brahmin) and 
the Central government as bania-Hindu 
sarkar. 

l^ter when Bhindranwale shifted to 
the (iolden Temple, started making 
anti- Hindu speeches and his goons be- 
gan killing innocent people, his admirers 
dismissed the allegations as government 
propaganda. Tr> them he still remains a 
good guy who laid down his life for the 
K Khalsa Panth. It will not be easy to 
exorcise Bhind ran wale’s ghost from the 
' ^^unjabi mind. 


TALL ORDER 

A retired aniiy officer w'ho had kist 
both his arms went to a club he had 
just joined and ordered himself a beer. 
When the barman put it before him he 
said, "Son, you see I have no arms. Can 
you put the beer mug to my lips?" 

lire kindly barman held the mug till | 
the officer had finished. 

“Now be kind enough to wipe the 
froth off my moustache," said the 
officer. 

The barman wiped the officer's m<»us- 
tache with his duster. ^ 

"Now take the wallet out of my pocket 
and take the money for the beer." 

Once more the barman carried out the 
request. The officer thanke<l him andsis 
he was about to leaye^ he made his \M 
request, “Son, can you show me the 
way to the lavatory?" 

1}ie bannan realised what was coming 
and promptly replied, "I am sorry, sir. 
there is no lavatory in this club, "a 



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he is more a friend who introducea 
modem cleanliness and hygiene in my home’ 

' ^ ' - Mrs. Archana Katnpani of Bombay. 



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doorbell and introduce himsell with his identity card. 

This man inspires contidencc - which is only natural. Because he is 
a member ot the largest, most successful sales organisation of its kind in 
India. Backed by dependable after sales service. 

He will introduce modern home products to cope with unlay’s 
problems -dust, pollution, contaminated w'atcr and the lack of 
domestic help. 

He has (>\'o iiniL|ue piXKlucts to demi^nstrate: Fl]R<XJJL\N all-purpose 
cleaning system, which is much more than a vacuum cleaner and 
AQU/UillARI) on-line, water filler cum purifier. 

Fl'ROCLFAN removes even minute specks of dirt and dust in your 
home effortlessly, hven dii.st you didn’t know existed. AQUAGHARD 
gives you clear, safe drinking W'ater on tap -at the flick of a switch - 
even if the raw water has higli bact^^al contaniination. 

The Fureka Forhes salesman wiInKow you - in your own home - 
how these products can bring the advantage of modern cleanliness 
and hygiene to your family. Making t s||fcleamtfr, safer .,\)rtd for you. 

You ni‘ed not wait till his rounus to youf doorstep. For 

fiirthcr information d(} w'ritc to us at 
G.P.O.. Bombay 400 001. 



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'Ihe all putposc cleaning system which i.s 
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Aquaguard 

On-line, water filter cum-purifier. 


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Pioneers in mtxleni cleanliness and hygiene. 


87/EFU47 




RK iMunm me Tmimt/fh 


' e are going to a stage where our 
technology is moving much faster than 
our training system. 

Rajiv Ganuhi, Prime Minister 

student of operational research will 
most probably say that the present 
model (of the Indian army) may be the 
worst model from the cost-effective 
point of view. 

Gen. K. Sunderii, chief the nmv 
staff 


H. 


low is it that after SO many years, the 
BilP has not been able to gain power in 
any state whereas the communists are 
running th ree state governments? 

E.M.S. Namboodiripad, CPJ(M) 
geaeaH secretary 


history in W est Bengal 

AB.A.GjiAmI0{ARiCiiO)^ fotr 

mtimter, to CoqgreisfSsig^^ . 


It (Sflchism) tooklrirth inan era of 
communal strife, and all its gurus gave 
fitting and honourah^e battle to the rulers 
of those days to end oppression, sup- 
pression and tyntnny . 


Prakash Singh Badal, UmhedAkaS 
Mleader 

He (Michael Hershman) is a conman. 
It was by tmiake that Nusli Wacfia 
believed him to be a private detective. 

Ausiddiqui, NRIbusmessmananff 
MerySerofRafivGanM 

Oertalnly, dkidbopd was (pu 
time. . . Eveiy Piid^ he 
would come and tM^nte, frith my 
homeworic. Heeventobfcmy pumsh- 
mentinschod. 

V.P. Singh, fomerdefoKernlahter 

jr or 1$ yearn we were sm^^ 
meaMderignstrfpeoplel^ 

M, imbis 

aOati^eahipiifh^ 


I do not think a thief should always 
remain a thief. Let the Naxalites come to 
me and repent, and 1 will rehabilitate 
them in society. 

N.T. Rama Rao, Andhra Pradesh chief 
mmister . 

on the sensiti'*ity of the 

person . 

N. Sanieeva Reddy, former President 
(ffthiffa, on whether NTR should resign 
^lerthe Andhra Pradesh High Court 
verdict against NTR 

Our self-esteem is very fragile. It gets 
hurt very easily... It is this self that 
comes in our way. 

Sam PrntODA, Prone Mbaister's adviser 
on tedoKjkgy missions, on thepubSc 
sector wanagerr^nt 

I atarted olf as a hero and because of 
the ladi (d chaOshBc switched over to 
neiisltve roles. In fret 1 am known as the 
vdism with the heroes free. 

pREM Chopra, film actor 


SUNDRY ir-83 January 1888 



A.P. High Court 
finds NTR guilty 


HYnrMAH Jh » f 
iFPi - * •* JIL« 



1- 


thiiite C 

MfliiMHiRii^ 

kvjptoMiiiiidiMIttWM^^ 

niipftfMl^lRttMi|Miii^1lii 


NEWSWATCH 


After the judgment 

N. T. Rama Rao will probably survive the High Court judgment 
against him, but his position has been significantly weakened 


O ne fact of life Andhra 
Pradesh’s embattled chief 
minister N.T. Rama Rao 
and his Telugu Desam par- 
ty (TDP) have got used to 
is that even with a majority of 198 in a 
house of 294, they face a perennial 
political threat. This time it is from a 
new quarter: the courts. The 2 January 
interim judgement of the Andhra 
Pradesh High Court on one of four writ 
petitions fided by Congressman Dr Dro- 
namaraju Satyanarayana in the form of a 
letter to the court, 6nding the CM and 
his government guilty of ’’abuse, of 
authority” on seven counts has shown 
how helpless even a democratkaUy 
elected government can be before the 
mighty judiciary. The full effect of the 
Court’s findings will be known from the 
outcome of the Vayalpadu and Srikalhas- 
thi Assembly by-elections slated for 20 
January. But the import^t issue will be 
what comes of the state government’s 
appeal against the High Court order, and 
the result of another case before the 
Supreme Court, involving a charg 
against the Chief Justice of the Andhra 


Pradesh High Court, Justice K. Bhas- 
karan, one of the judges who passed the 
High Court order, that he had fsdsified 
his date of birth to avoid early super- 
annuation— -which easily makes the next 
60 days the most crudal of the sanyasi 
CM's eventful five-year rule. 

Although it is only three years since 
the TDP was elected to power in 1985, 
the party has already received quite a 
few sho^s. It has b^ dogged by the 
dismissal of N. Srinivasul Reddy, former 
revenue minister and number two in the 
government. It has suffered recent elec- 
toral reverses in the Guntur ziUa 
parishad elections. There is mounting 
fiscal pressure from the central govern- 
ment. NTR and his men are at the end of 
their tether— nothing that has happened 
in the new year so fair has brought than 
any cheer, from the kidnapping of eig^ 
IAS officers by Naxalites to the interim 
judgement whkJi found the charges of 
corruption against NTR, prmu hex, to 
be true. The matinee iM CM’s only 
saving grace, peitiaps, is hus populist 
' image magrofi^ by the saeen, which 
hajik estdeared him to the rural poor, 


thanks to his Rs two per kg rice, Janata 
doth and cheap housing schemes. Even 
if the cases do end up finding him guilty 
of corruption, it is up to him to de^e If 
he wants to resign or not, on moral 
grounds. The courts cannot force him 
out. Electoral compulsions might leave 
him a few options. But he does have 
examples of an illustrious Congress 
Prime Minister and several chief minis- 
ters to look to for inspiration: despite 
dami^ judgments Indiira Gandhi, Pra- 
tap Sin^ Kadron, Bans! Lai, Aijun Singh 
and Gimdu Rao apologised for strictures 
against them and stayed put 
Attacking the AICCd) goietal secret- 
ary K.N. Singh for caOii^ NTR a "dirty 
man,” P. Upendra, the leader of the 
TDP Parliamentary party thundered: 
"The Congressd) haa no moral right to 
demand CM’s resignatioa” The 
traditkm of stoic disregi^ for judkU 
strictures among Congrm chief minis- 
ters is a strong one: even Hardcniahna 
Mahtab had refiised to step down as 
chief minister of Orissa after he was 



12 




IMnW|M|iBlif ultAlIQniQf * 
ftwwtilloth#6oviftitWfrt 

Wp BBWf w *WIBW^PB*w 

IL PtfMMMf M M JMHlfaMi OVih^ 
(llMiltriaMmrfoftliilMCO««)li 
flwaHia|riMtNni»ilBi 
IntaiiM flf Am court HmHiIIio 
cinii hlof ihiip cfWdsiii Iran 
MvpnriijyirtsfSo Rmi JcliiRMitani 
h i dm isi ll o md PiMmwtftwIidoiii 
h iC€6p0ng such in Msig^^ 
is iftar il i inprasinlsllvi of tbs 

Mm HBbDa IBiIbBjJb Ib 

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itatf stariT h Iho Clio 



resign as chief minister of Madhya 
Pradesh when there was a court judge- 
ment against him in the Churhat lottery 
case/' 

Nl'K himself reacted to the judge- 
ment with feigned ignorance: "I cannot 
say anything/' he told insistent news- 
men pressing for a comment, **unless 1 
have seen the judgement for myself. 1 
have not yet received a copy/' The 
CPI(M) poUtburo which met in Calcutta 
an 3 January chose to see the state- 
ments against NTK from Congress(I) 
leaders more as a “desire to score a 
political point" rather than a genuine 
concern for high standards in {Mblic life. 
Admitted a senior CPI leader in Hyder- 
abad: “Frankly, all these bourgeois par- 
ties are the same: 'The Congress(i) is 
as corrupt as the IDP and vice versa." 
But the judgement caused a spht among 
the “fri^dly Opposition parties" in the 
state. While the CPI was intent on going 
ahead with its call for a statewide bandb 
on 9 January, the fifth anniversary of 
TDP rule, the other par^s were against 
the idea of strengthening the hands of 
the CongressCD. 

But the repercussions of the 2 January 
judgement, if- upheld by the Supreme 
Court, would be far-reaching* The entire 
list of charges against the CM is a 
staggering 198. Stoce Nani Palkhivala, 
one of the counsels for NTR, had 
pointed out that the focus of public 
interest litigation should be limited and 
specific and the court had no time to go 
through an the changes — only half a 
doa^orsowereconsMered. According 


to Ramchandra Rao, counsel for 
Satyanarayana, even on the charges that 
were taken up. Ram Jethmalani, who- 
also argued NTR's case, could not 
contest them on merits, “because he 
had no case on merits." All the lawyer 
could do was raise basic questions — 
about Satyanarayana's locus standi in the 
case, labelling it “political interest litiga- 
tion" rather than “public interest litiga- 
tion" and saying tlv*t the charges were 
aU “jumbled up". Vt if Jethmalani was 
not serious about pursuing the matter, 
the court was. 

O f the five charges upheld against 
NTR, the first concerns a favour he 
had done for his youngest son-in-law 


NTR: unpsrturMT 



Naren Rajan, who was designated as 
project-in-charge of an electronics com- 
pany, KCP Ltd, which got several 
governmental benefits under the facility 
criteria. Later KCP's letter of intent was 
switched to L' Avenir Telecom Pvt Ltd, 
of which Rajan was the owner. The 
letter of intent brought with it credit 
fadlities from the State Finance Cor- 
poration (SFC), AP Industrial Develop- 
ment Corporation (APIDC) and ^ 
Electronic Development Corporation 
(APEDC). The court was shown a 
photograph of Rajan getting his tele- 
phone project inaugurated, with the help 
of Union industries minister J. Vengala 
Rao (who is also the state PCC-1 chieO. 
Satyanarayana was able tu produce a 
photostat of Rajan's licence on the 
strength of which he was exempted from 
making a specific performance deposit 
(which is given in advance) of Rs ten 
lakhs, and had procured a Rs 670 lakh 
SFC loan. Pronounced the court: “In the 
matter of estalishment of telephone 
instruments project by his third son-in- 
law, N.T. Rama Rao has abused his 
official position." 

The second charge relates to change 
of the 'land-use* of NTR's Ramakrishna 
Cine Studios several times under the 
master plan after he came to power in 
1983, from a residential area to a local 
commercial area, to a q)edal industrial 
area to, finally, a gen^ commercial 
area. Satyanarayana's counsel Rao was 
able to establish how. at the behest of 
his own sons N. Jayakrishna and N. 
Balakrishna the CM r^uced the amount 


SUNDAY 17--23 Jmafy 1968 


13 


originally agreed to be paid to the 
government of Rs 40 per sq yard for the 
1,760 sq yards of land the studio had 
been encroaching upon throughout 
1975-1983 to Rs 15 per sq yard. Rao 
also showed that NTR had r^uced an 
amount of Rs 20,000 payable by the 
studio to the Hyderabad munidpality for 
regularisation of an unauthori^ con- 
struction to Rs 1000. 

The third charge pertains to the CM’s 
failure to withdraw the urban land ceiling 
exemption grated by him earlier to his 
sons Jayakrishna and Balakrishna, 
45,000 sq metres Ramakrishna Studio 
Nacharam lands, which were specifically 
given for setting up an outdoor horti- 
cultural studio. Since the studio had 
been abandoned and converted into a 
general commercial area, the land ceiling 
benefits stood cancelled as per the 
earlier government order. 'The failure 
on the part of N.T. Rama Rao to take 
action to withcbaw the exemption and 
resume the Nacharam lands after the 
Ramakrishna Cine Studios ceased to be 
a cine studio, amounts to abuse of his 
official position in order to favour the 
members of his family," the judges 
declared. 

Ramachandra Rao showed the court a 
19M-85 AP government gazette noti- 
fication granting entertainment tax ex- 
emption to two theatres ov^ned by 
NTR*8 sons and other family members, 
the Ramakrishna 70 mm and the Ramak- 
rishna 35 mm theatres, the former for 
84 shows and the latter for 67 shows 
that were supposedly cancelled because 
of curfew in^osed following Mrs Gan- 
dhi’s assassination. Satyanarayana’s 
counsel failed to see how Mrs Gandhi’s 
assassination on 31 October, 1984, 
could be a reason for the grant of 
exemption for shows that were held 
from July 19M to mid-1985. Ruled the 
opurt: "N.T. Rama Rao has abused his 
official position in granting exemption 
from payment of entertainment tax in 
respect of Ramakrishna 70 mm and 35 
mm theatres, which are owned by his 
family." 

R^chandra Rao drew the court’s 
notice to the ban on financial aid to mini 
steel plants imposed by the Industrial 
Development Bank of India, because 
they were considered unviable. Despite 
this Rs 75 lakhs was given to Naren 
Rqjan, who later soM off his L’Avenir 
St^ for a sizeable profit after the writs 
were filed. Even the Andhra Pradesh 
advocate general E. Manohar, who 
argued the case for the state govern- 
ment, admitted that a letter of intent 
was granted for mini steel plants to I * 

I Avenir Steels but denied any connexion 
between the steel unit and Naren Rriaa 

14 


Said the court "With regard to setting 
up. of M/S L’Avenir Steels Pvt Ltd., 
Medak district. N.T. Rama Rao has 
abused Yus official position." 

As for the charges against the state 
government, the judges found that its 
action "in regard to the grant of 
wholesale exenq)tion of 2,29,964 sq 
metres in favour of the Vgayawada 
Hardware and Iron Merchants Associa- 
tion is arbitrary. Illegal and opposed to 
the Directive Principles of State Policy 
contained in article 39(B) of the Con- 
stitution. The colossal exemption 
granted to the association for an area as 
vast as 54 acres, Satyanmyana's lawyer 
argued, was a "perversion of the power 
of exemption". For, on 54 acres, "a 
township itself could be built". The 
exemption did not help either the poor 
or middle class and was found to be in 
violation of the directive principle of 
distributing land to the needy. 
Ramachandra Rao also showed the court 
that with corrupt motives the govern- 
ment had made the Agricultural Market 
Committee, Hyderabad, pay a whopping 
Rs 3.5 crores for a 232-acre plot on the 
outskirts of the dty, whose market 
value was Rs 90,000 per acre. This was 
done with a view to conferr^ illegal 
gain and advantage to A.S. Krishna and 
Company of Guntur, who had given 300 
acres of mango gardens in Nellure and 
300 she-bu£faloes as bribe to N. Chan- 
drababu Naidu, the CM’s son-in-law. 
That is why crores of rupees were lost 
by the market committee at the instance 
of the CM. The court held: 

'The permission granted by the gov- 
ernment in Memo No. 169854/ Maitet- 
ings 11/1/83-4 dated 4.1.86 permitting 
the Agricultural Market Committee, 
Hyderabad, to purchase from Hyder- 
abad Urban Development Authority 
(HUDA) an extent of 22 acres of land at 
a cost of Rs 3.5 crores is arbitrary 



Riniicliiiidra Rn draw tht courfs 

Mi 1 -U 

noiM w lira ll■l fin 1RMIQM ■010 
ndni iIboI ptanti inpoNd by Vra 
Indnilriil Doralopiiraiit Bradf of 
Indhf bocNN dray wtra ooiraidorad 
iiofiililOi DMDRi thii Rfe 7 S faddif 
■18 livin to Niran Riln who fadir 
iMHiL’AvMirStNiilori 
ihradblopwlitiflif Bra writ! wora 
Hod 


illegal and contrary the Marketing Com- 
mittee Act, 1966." 

"It is false to state that there is 
merely a prima fade case against NTR," 
said an excited Ramachandra Rao. 
far as NTR is concerned, he was fully 
heard, represented by the most eminent 
counsel in India, and his government 
produced 1000 pages of affidavits and 
documents, and 800 pages of material 
papers. On critical examination of these 
papers, the court found he had abused 
governmental power for dishonest per- 
sonal Rao went on: 'The reason 
for calling the case prima fade is that 
under the principle of natural justice, the 
persons who are likely to be affected by 
the final (of whom he has submitted a list 
of 18) should be put on notice and 
allowed to represent themselves but 
that NTR has abused his authority on 
five counts and the government on two 
counts is final." Satyanarayana’s counsel 
also argues that there is even a specific 
direction in the judgement for the CM to 
resign. It says that if a person holding 
the office of chief minister appoints a 
commission of enquiry against himself 
(as NTR has done) as per the Supreme 
Court’s verdict in State of Karnataka vs 
Union of India, such a person should not 
continue in office. 

The case itself will be remembered 
for the uncomfortable legal and constitu- 
tional questions it raised. First, the 
Chief Justice K Bhaskaian, one of the 
judges who dealt with the case, was 
allegedly unqualified for the post of a 
judge, according to a petition (No. 
17952-53 of 1987) put up before the 
Supreme Court, because he had already 
crossed his date of retirement, 5 
September, 1985, when he had readied 
the age of 62. The petition filed in the 
Supreme Court by one (^handrashekhara 
Rao, alleys that Justice Bhaskaran’s 
date of birth as recorded in the birth 
register is 5 September, 1923. In 1985 
and again in 1987, a person named K 
Lakshmanan, who is related to the 
judge, had made a representation to the 
President of India that Justice Bhaskar- 
pi, by niaking a frise declaration regard- 
ing his age, continued as Chief Justice of 
the AP Hi^ Court beyond 4 September, 
1985. The petition states that the presi- 
dent has ^eady directed the central 
government to inquire into the allega- 
tion, and that the Kerala branch of uie 
CBI was on the job. 

Elaborating on die details, PNLekhi. 
the lawyer doling with the case, said: 
'The petition states that Bhaskaran had 
joined as an other raiik (OR) in the 
British Indian Army, where the mini- 
mum eligible age for recnutment was 18 
years for jawans. Bhaskaran's claim that 

tUNMV 17-23 JMNMry 1388 





.i^eWsWatch: 



he had become a favourite subject with 
the press. 

The 2 January judgement is yet 
another example of judicial interference 
in the functioning of the executive, 
something Indira Gandhi resented, and 
made her opt for a “committed judici- 
ary". The argument cited in support of 
such judgements is generally that the 
court must adjudicate in a dispute over 
executive excesses, to the extent that 
they impinge on the rights of the citizen. 
Said Satyanarayana's lawyer, "lliis is 
what the Supreme Court has said in its 
ruling in the Rajasthan case and judges 
case." Added he: “TOs is not a political 
case. It just proves that nobody is above 
law." The violation of laws and statutes 
are subject to judicial checks, even if 
they have a political flavour. “'i1ie burn- 
ing of Samanta tribal villages by the state 
government (to get rid of Naxalites) as a 
matter of policy, similarly, is also subject 
to the adjudication of the courts because 
they affect fundamental human rights," 
he said. But the possibilities then are 
endless. 

The case has not yet sealed tlie fate of 
NTR, but to what extent it has damaged 
his reputation will soon be kmm'n. 'fhe 
misfortunes of the TDP government liad 
begun with the expulsion of Srinivasul 
R^dy. Its defeat in all eight municip^i- 
tics in Guntur had added to its woes, 
llie TOP remains strong in rural areas, 
but its credibility has been eroded in 
towns and cities. Out of the 22 ziUa 
parishads in the state, it managed to 
retain its hold over 18 while Krishna, 
Cunoor and Guntur went to the Con- 
gress(I). The TDP also captured two- 
thirds of the mandals to which elections 
were held. But considering its past 
performance, even this signifies a 
weakening of its position. Recent events 
have already caused deep ir:trospection 
among senior TDP leaders about NTR's 
ways. He had forfeited the support of 
textile traders, NGOs, the middle class, 
lower castes and the intelligentsia. 

What more was there that remained 
to be lost? Now, the chief minister 
appears to be in a conciliatory mood—he 
has promised to be more fair and 
accessible to bis own paxtymen. Chan- 
drababu Naidu has also “stepped down"' 
from his post as party chief. Said CPI 
leader N. Giri I^asad: “Actually, he 
hasn't. He has just said that he will not 
contest for the post in the forthcoming 
party election. But the election itself has 
been put off.” Probably, because there 
are too many people in the Telugu 
Desam party anxious to see what be- 
comes of NTR at the ^preme Court, 
and the polls. 

J ■*- --* - ■* 

nimwi itiiuB / 


15 




POLITICS 




The CongressCiys 
three funny men 


Ranchi district to the status of a 
national level leader. The 
change in fortunes nuide him a 
celebrity in Bihar. And with the 
self-congratulation came the 
pride. He became candid and 
outspoken. Some of the stories 
that began circulating about him 
centre around his trip to Mos- 


What do you say of a 
Congress(I) general 
secretary who on reaching 
Moscow insists on 
meeting the general 
secretary of the Soviet 
Communist Party, 

Mikhail Gorbachev? He 
is one of the trio of 
corniced characters in the 
AICC(I) 

S eldom has the All India Con- 
gress Committee(I) had a 
more comical trio of general 
secretaries than Ram Rattan 
Ram, Naresh Chandra Cha- 
turvedi and Kedar Nath Singh. If Ram’s 
exploits in India and abroad are legen- 
dary, Singh, for all his protestations of 
love for the poor, is an voluble socialist, 
and Chaturvedi, a professed champion of 
the right. All three, of course, share an 
ability to contradict each other on any 
given subject, be it the issue of a friendly 
overture from the RSS, Madhavrao 
scindia’s daughter’s wedding, or the fact 
that the Congress Working Committee 
will consider the issue of a leadership 
change in Maharashtra. Each of the 
senior AICC(I) office-bearers is a law 
unto himself. Why insist on one official 
stand on any issue when there can be as 
many opinions as there are general 
secretaries? As a thoughtful ^taram 
Kesri, the AICC(I) treasurer, said to a 
roomful of newsmen waiting to hear the 
’^official AICC(l) position” on the Gwa- 
lior wedding: “The Congress is the 
Pacific Ocean. It cannot be bound. Yet it 
is calm. ” One way of saying the party is 
all at sea. 

But the man in the AlCCd) who haj 
had few equals is Ram Rattan Ram' 
brought in to replace the former gene'al 
secret^ of the AICC(I), Ram Dhan, s' 
a Harijan representative. Ram was cata- 
pulted from local politics in Biharis 



16 



cow, and a three>day visit to Madhya 
f^adesh to find a solution to the problem 
of dissidcnce in the party unit there. 
Before he left for Moscow, the story 
goes, Ram had Tung up the PM's house 
and asked for Rajiv Gandhi. He was told 
to wait. He held on for a fiill 20 minutes. 
A person at the other end then told him 
that the PM was not available. Ram said 
he was the general secretary of the 
AICC(I) and had to speak to the PM on 
an urgent matte* that concerned the 
interest of the nation. 

Then, Ram insisted on talking to Sonia 
Gandhi, 'fhe person replied that Sonia 
Gandhi did not speak to unknown per- 
sons. Anyway, she did come on the line • 
after Ram argued for another 20 mi- 
nutes. And when she asked Ram what 
he w.ii.ied, the general secretary said 
that he was travelling to Mosccw and 
wanted to know what he should discuss 
with the Soviet leaders. A surprised 
Sonia Gandhi put the receiver down. In 
Moscow he is alleged to have made a 
fool of himself by demanding to see 
Gorbachev. He is supposed to have 
argucHi tiiat as he was the general 
secretary of the AlCC(l), he wanted to 
meet the general secretary of the 
CPSIJ. Ihs interpreter informed that the 
equatwin was not so simple after all. 

t)n his visit to Madhya Pradesh, Ram 
had apparently succeeded in disappoint- 
ing every partyman who came to him 
with a problem. All he said was, “Refer 
to my last speech, I have said it all”. Of 
course, after his Madhya Pradesh odys- 
sey. those most upset wnth him were the 
Arjun Singh loyalists. That explains why 
such tales emanated from Bhopal. Said 
Ram, “1 have the responsibility of look- 
ing alter three states, Gujarat, Orissa 
and Madhya Pradesh. Madhya Pradesh 
has the largest population of Scheduled 
Castes and Scheduled 1 nbes, and all 
three states have strong feud^ lobbies 
of zamindarSf funner princely rulers and 
imperiali.sts. Naturally, there are people 
opposed to me. And 1 know it is these 
forces who are unhappy with me in 
Madhya Pradesh." The reference was 
obviously to Union communication 
minister, Arjun Singh, the former Raja of 
Churhat. 

But did Ram actually make himself a 
laughing stock in Madhya Pradesh? Did 
he, for instance, heap himself with 
garlands till the forehead at Bhopal 
airport, and get off his car every fuikmg 
to see how long his motorcade was? Is it 
true that he had once gone to. see the 
PM during one of his morning darshans 
and on finding himself in the middle of a 
jostling crowd told the PM's staff that he 
would be in the sitting room and the PM 
should come and meet him there? “Lies, 


all lies, ” Ram shot back. “'Chese are 25 
per cent due to caste prejudices, and 75 
per cent due to political prejudices.” 

“Somebody wrote somewhere that 1 
had got ten suits stitched in Moscow',” 
Ram went on. "I had only Rs 5,000 on 
me when I went there, andfonly two 
suits. 1 had to get myself more clothes. 
In any case, the reports had singled me 
out and mentioned nothing about what 
others did.” Who were the “others”? ”1 
will not comment.” 'Fhen, after a pause, 
he said: “In any case. 1 have eight sons, 
all of them doing well, so why should I 
have any problem getting ten suits 
stitched?” Ram’s eldest son, Vijay 
Krishna, is a sub-divisional officer in 
Hazaribagh, and also an expert on Chhau 
dance, llie second, Ajay Krishna, is a 
doctor and the re^strar of the Nalanda 
Medical College in I*atna. The third. 
Sanjay Krishna, is also a doctor at the 
Ranchi Medical College while the fourth, 
Dhananjay Krishna, is a station superin- 
tendent with Air-lndia in Delhi. Ram’s 
fifth son, Mrilyunjay Krishna, is a depu- 
ty superintendent of police in Ranchi and 
the sixth. Vikramjit Krishna, is a 
businessman in Bokaro. The seventh. 



n Moscow 
Ram Rattan Ram is supposed 
to have argued that as he was 
the general secretary of the 
AICC(I), he wanted to meet the 
general secretary of the Soviet 
Communist Party, Gorbachev. 
His interpreter informed that 
the equation was not so simple 



N. Singh 
is fond of calling 
himself a socialist. A 
former chairman of 
Modern Bakeries, 
Singh recalls his 
‘‘fightapinst 
corruption” in the 
public sector 





Viswajay Krishna, is in Bombay training 
to become a movie actor, and the 
youngest, Sujay Krishna, has just gradu- 
ated from HMu College, Delhi. Ram's 
only daughter, Sujata, is still in college in 
Patna. 

Of medium build, dark and round- 
faced, 66-year-old Ram Rattan Ram 
carries himself with aplomb. He hardly 
loses his temper and seems accessible 
to one and all. 

When he was a boy of 6, Ram entered 
politics. He started by doing chores for 
VIPs like Mahatma Gandhi, Subhas 
Bose and Rsyendra Prasad when they 
visited Ranchi. This went on for ten 




ST 





there was still no alternative to the 
Congress at the Centre and it was 
wrong to say that the RSS was anti- 
Congress. Chaturvedi promptly issued a 
statement welcoming Deoras' offer of 
support to the Congress(I). Soon after- 
wards Ghuiam Nabi Azad, another 
general secretary, and apparently the 
“only real" spokesman of the AlCC(l), 
came out wi^ a statement saying that 
the Congress(l) needed neither the 
support nor sympathy of the RSS. 

Humbled, Chaturvedi has not been 
heard making statements since then. 

An MA from Kanpur, Chaturvedi 
(59), was until a year back labelled as 
one of the dissidents in the Con^ess(I) 
who privately spoke against I^jiv Gan- 
dhi. A litterateur of repute, he has 
written books such as Control aur 
Brashtachar, and biographies of Acharya 
Mahabir Prasad D^vedi and Narain 



N 




i. i.c 

Chaturvedi is a 
garrulous man and 
never loses an 
opportunity to issue 
statements. Once he 
even welcomed RSS 
chief Balasaheb 
Deoras’ offer of 
support to the 
Congress(I) 


years. After Independence, Ram be- I 
came a protege of Jagjivan Ram, to i 
whom he was introduced by his father, 
Laxman. Jagjivan Ram always stayed at 
Ram Rattan Ram's house when he came 
to Ranchi. But Ram Rattan Ram's real 
opportunity to work for his community 
came when he was made the Ranchi 
district welfere officer. “Since I was 
close to jagjivan Ram, he gave me the 
Congress ticket for the Assembly elec- 
tions in 1952.'' 

Ram Rattan Ram never looked back 
after that. Each time he stood for 
election, he won— except in 1977. 

T he other general secretary of the 
AlCC(l), Naresh Chandra Chaturve- 
di,is almost as garrulous as Ram. Oi. 2 
October, 1987, Balasaheb Deoras had 
told a Dussehra rally in Nagpur that i 


Prasad Arora. Chaturvedi has also 
edited a coUection of poems by Kantakji 
called Cbalna Hoga, and translated Kali- 
das' Meghdoot. 

The third general secretary, K.N. 
Singh, is fond of calling himself a social- 
ist. Even after the row over the state- 
ment he had made about taking action 
against Madhavrao Scindia for indulging 
in feudal extravagance, Singh had no 
regrets about what he had said. 
Although Ghuiam Nabi Azad contra- 
dicted what he had said and denied that 
the party was going to take any action 
against the railway minister, Singh tqld 
reporters at his house that it was not a 
question of any wedding but of aUowing 
such extrava]^.nce to take place when 
there. are people going hungry in the 
Not long ago, when Rajiv 
GasidUi vai|e0 Amethi, Singh had got 


involved in another unnecessary con- 
troversy. Sanjay Sinfi^ had made a 
statement saying that Rajiv Gandhi 
wanted to meet his father when he was 
in Amethi and that Dinesh Singh had 
been sent as a special messenger to his 
father. But the old man, Sanjay Singh 
claimed, had declined to meet the PM. 
K.N. Singh issued a clarification that 
only confounded the confusion. He was 
right in setting the record straifi^t when 
he said that it was actually Sanjay Singh's 
father who had sought an appointment 
with the PM through Dinesh Singh. 

Sanjay's frther had conveyed the mes- 
sage that as he was an old man and could 
not walk about freely, could the PM 
spare some time and meet him at his 
house? The PM had refused. But K.N. 
Singh went a step too far: he added that 
Sanjay Singh's father was involved in 
Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination, and a 
warrant of arrest had once been issued 
against him. Such an allegation is damag- 
ing for the party as Sinj^'s father was a 
Congress(I) MLA from Amethi. 

Che of the leaders who have been 
trying to revive the long defunct Con- 
gress Socialist Forum— which was prop- 
ped up as a fake pressure group to argue 
the cause of socialist measures and 
consequently take the wind out of the 
sails of the Left parties fighting the 
Congress(I)— K.N. Singh had been 
actively lobbying for a party post. One of 

the reasons for accommodating him was 
to give the AICC(I) “socialist repre- 
sentation". As a matter of fact, K.N. 
Singh's fulminations against the Scindia 
wedding are yet another manifestation of 
his socialist pretensions. 

A former chairman of Modem Baker- 
ies, Singh is fond of reminiscing on his 
“fi^t against corruption’’ in the public 
sector. He pointed out that the PM was 
right in condemning the public sector 
because it was not run the right way. “1 
remember, when I joined a public sector 
company (Modem Bakeries), it was 
running at an enormous loss. But no 
sooner had 1 taken over than it started 
making a profit. For instance, the com- 
pany used 2,(X)0 tonnes of paper for 
wrapping its product. This paper was 
acquired from an ancillary unit that 
provided the paper and printed it too. 
The company was spending Rs 36 per kg 
on paper alone. 1 managed to cut down 
this expense simply by separating the 
paper and the printing charges. Ttet is, 
we started getting the paper from some- 
one and printing it elsewhere, 'fhe cost 
came down to Rs 22 per kg. That itself 
netted in a profit of crores. ’’ Is the Prime 
Minister listening? 

NlmMl MIMMiir DM 


18 


Illustrations: Anup Ray 



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units as sophisticated as 
any in Japan. 

You'll find India's first 
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Sophisticated techniques like 
Chrome Flashing. Computer- 
assisted quality control 
systems. And a Research and 
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created a unique product; 
Telescopic oscillating table 
fans. At tflC flick of a switch, 
they rise to become mini- 
pedestal ^s. 

The units belong to Polar, 
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POLAR 


The SUPER group 
behind the SUPER fan 







The L^ts are, for the first time in years, challenging the Congress(I) at the 
Centre. Rather titan over-confidende, tins r^lects the L^s shrewd calculations 


T he Indian Left is flexing its 
muscles. Creeping out of the 
fringes of national politics, the 
Left, for the first time in 
years, is challenging the 
established power in New Delhi. The 
Communist Party of India (Marxist) 
politbuio member. E.M.S. Namboodir- 
vad with uncharacteristic confidence 
last fortnight declared that the leplace- 
ment of the Congressd) goveriment at 
the Centre wiD be the most significaiit 
task of Ldft forces in 1988. This brave 
new year's resolution underscores a 
Marxist bravado that has been in- 
creasingly evident since the impressive 
9 December rally held in New Efolhi last 


year, where a succession of Left leaders 
dem^ed the resi^tion of Mne 
Minister Rsyiv Candhi and fresh general 
elections. The rally was succeeded by a 

rising stridency in the utterances of 
Mar^t leaders, like West Bengal chief 
minister Jyoti and a resolution that 

the entire Left would unite with 'demo- 
cratic and secular* Opposition partis to 
shake the ruling Cmigressd) with a 
nationwide 'Bha^ Bandh*. 

(Irchestrating this new belfigerence 
the largest Left party in te 
fcmkyiVentnl cginmittee oommissats 
offlisp giiniiK lforty^ 
in thd^^l^ headquarters last fort- 


ni^t to discuss the national political 
crisis gripping the country and wa^ to 
tacticaOy exploit the situation. JustS^fog 
their new confidence, senior Mandst 
bosses outlined how the year 1987 had 
witnessed the emergence of an altecna- 
tive to the Congressd), whicii. unlike 
the Janata-^ aftmative. excluded 
*hvowedly rj^itist and caste-communal 
forces". Ill other words, the Marxists 
were ingdying that a decade after the 
start of the Janata nusadventme, the 
hidian Left was for the first tkne tactical- 
ly placed to play conductor before an 
ensemble of diverse but growing 
Opposition groups. 

The sudden surge in Leftist seif- 


20 > 


if 17>-a JMuiiy 1M 




confidence is startfing oonsideriQg that 
indianConiiiiiiiiists until now, been 
consBtent m niaintaining that there is no 
akemative to the ConiBressd) at the 
Centre. Should Prime Minister Rajhr 
Gandhi and his Congre8s(0 lose its iron 
grip on Parlianient, the entire countiy 
would be plunged into a chaos,plum for 
expkatatkm by divisive and anti-national 
forces, the argument ran. But since 
the New Delhi rally, Marxist leaders like 
Jyoti Basu are sayinp 'The Left is now 
in a position to provide altemative lead- 
ersh^’* Going a step forther, the CPI's 
IndRoit Gupta says: Though the fight is 
now only in Parfoment, tomorrow will 
spread to every village, farm and foc- 
In the states, espedally the three 
Maoist controlled ones, West Bengal, 
Kecab and Tripura, local committees 
are fiuming out to spread the new 
anii-CongrnisQ) message and plan pco- 

sewsv 


test progrannn^ At the national level, 
every Opposition group, bonriog the 
'rightist aid commu^ Bharatiya Janata 
Pai^ (Q|P) and the RSS, is being 
assiduously wooed by the Left. 

But whme tUs new confidence? For, 
it is unlikely that Marxist veterans 
hardened by years of (fisappointed ambi- 
tion seriously befieve that the turn-out of 
almost a mdiion people at their New 
Delhi tally is indicative of any dramatic 
overnight Left resurgence among the 
masses. CPI MP Gurudas Dasgupta 
admits that 'it would be wrong to say 
that all those who attended tiie rally 
were s u pporters of the Left parties*’. 
Besides, both tile CPI and the CPI(M) 
have no illusions sfoout their weak base 
in the Hindi heartland where national 
politics is decided. The CP!(M), in its 
political-organisatioiial report of its De- 
cember 1985 congress, had admitted 


extremely slow growth in the Hindi belt 
and even toay the situation is not much 
changed. 

What the rally proved, however, is 
that the Left by articulating mass dis- 
satisfoction against the Rajiv (kuicflii 
regime and hy riding on the backs of 
established Opposition parties, could 
secure vital toeholds in the Hindi heart- 
land in the long run. To the miffions wim 
attended the New Delhi rally, the Left 
was a symbol of change, says Dasgupta. 
The people are fed up with the Con- 
gressd) government and they are all 
hoping for a change. It is tins energy that 
the Left parties want to channelise." 

The Ldft assessment is both shrewd 
and realistic. With their fingers on the 
political pulse, the Left has sensed rising 
disooiitent a^inst the CoQgressfO in the 
Hindi heartland and believe that Ra|iv 
Gandhi's long term fiiture has diming 




Crete plan of action", 
according to the People's 
Democracy, "The new 
awakening created by the 
campaign has to be consoli- 
dated and taken forwar- 
d...and the Bharat Bandh 
wiO constitute a very signi- 
ficant event and carry for- 
ward the movement" 




21 






CHANCES ARE, 
YOU’RE STILL 
UNAWARE. 

Chances are we are in touch with you. 
Every moment. In the house you live 
in. The car you travel in. Or the train 
you take. The utensils you cook in or 
the plate you use. Or in the bulb that 
gives you light. All these daily 
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SALEM • CALCUTTA 








SPECIAL REPORT 


Marxist leaders are, at tlie same time, 
quick to qualify that this is just the 
beginniug. The rally and subsequent 
developments might have brought out 
the importance of the Left in the present 
balance of forces, but. says the CPl(M), 
"this does not mean that the Left and 
democratic alternative can be im- 
mediately posed.” As a first step, the 
Left is concentnicing on the unity of 
like-minded Opposition groups and the 
isolation of the BJP. According to de- 
vious Marxist calculations, even though 
the anti-Rajiv Gandhi rhetoric must 
kept upfront, it naist not be translated to 
mean that any steps should be taken to 
immediately destabilise the Congress(I) 
at the Centre. But Marxists are com- 
fortable with this sort of doublespeak. 
The anti-Congress(I) stance is for mass 
consumption since the Left parties, 
including the CPKM), are tended of 
committing the mistake that CPI made in 
the late 1960s and 1970s by openly 
aligning with Mrs Indira Gandlii's regime 
and getting wiped out in the process. 

'Ilie iccent utterances against the 
Congressd). apart from going down well 
with the masses, also serves to restore 
the left's credibility with the Opposition 
parties, which continue to believe that 
the Left wrecked their campaign to get 


Giani Zail Singh re-elected as President. 
The Uft paities-CPI(M), CPI. RSP 
and the Forward Bloc— wi^ their 400- 
odd MLAs and 54 Lok and Rsyya Sabha 
MPs together accounted for 94,142 
presidential votes— the largest any 
group could muster after the Congres- 
sd). The Left parties’ decision to with 
draw support from Zail Sin^ had fuelled 
suspicions about their secret under- 
standing with the Congressd). 

T he CPKM) has also to live down its 
dubious histor>' of collaborating or 
helping Mrs Indira Gandhi’s Congress. 
Perhaps believing that an understanding 
with the dominant national power at 
critical historical junctures would further 
the strategic aim of "people’s democra- 
cy", the CPKM) first stood by Mrs 
Gandhi at the time of the 1969 Congress 
split by supporting her presidential 


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gnNpiandtlwiioliliondliiBIP. 
Acconlns to divioui 
cikiililloMy fvin tooi^ 
MIHIqnf unoni nNIOrV 

n ■■■Wl llwl W 


nominee, V.V. Giri. Much later, the 
CPKM) leadership justified this support 
on the grounds that the grand alliance of 
old ^lard Congressmen like Moraiji 
Desai represented "extreme right reac- 
tion,” wherea.s Mrs Gandhi's "garibi 
hatao” and bank nationalisation slogans 
were Leftist and helped the country to 
move out of the clutches of the ruling 
bourgeoise-Iandlord combine. 

Exactly ten years later, the CPKM) 
helped to break the Janata Party which it 
had supported initially and helped to gain 
power despite the presence of right- 
wing Jana Sangh leaders and Moraiji 
Desai. The CPI(M)’s 1977 alliance with 
the Janata, Namboodiripad later ex- 
plained, was necessary because "the 
victims of one-party rule, denuded of all 
fireedom, had to take up ^e fight against 
dictatorship, champion nonns of par- 
liamentary democracy and fight for 
them.” The CPl(M) central committee 
dismissed the criticism that it was in- 
volving itself in the unprincipled squab- 
bles of the Janata Party. 'Fhe withdrawal 
of support from Charan Singh and the 
subsequent collapse of the Janata gov- 
ernment was justified on the ground that 
right-wing and landlord force were 
subverting the government. 

While the CPKM) leadership is ex- 






r 


tremely adept at formulating theoretical 
justifications to their actions, it is 
pragmatic considerations that form the 
basis for their actions. The Marxists 
admit that there is always a "need for 
intervention in the various manifesta- 
tions of the political crisis that erupts in 
bourgeoise politics" and that this "in- 
tervention should be so planned and 
executed as to strengthen the position of 
the proletanat and its allies". Simply put, 
the CPI(M) is prepared to act in a way 
that will, enhance its position and 
strength in times of crisis. 

In the late 1960s, the CPl(M) was 
aware that the success of the United 
Front governments in Kerala and West 
Bengal "reflected the deep mass discon- 
tent against Congress rule more than 
the endorsal of a radical programme", 
'fhis weakness was coupled with the rise 
of Naxalism that threatened its Leftist 
bases and an understanding with the 
Centre was crucial for the CPI(M)’s 
long-term calculations. In 1979 too, it 
sensed that it was fast getting alienated 
in a Jana Sangh-Bharatiya Lok Dal ruled 
polity and in danger of being attacked. At 
the same time, the Marxists have also 
learnt that the Congress can be an 
unreliable ally. For, despite the 
CPI(M)'s help in 1969. Mrs Gandhi, the 
moment she consolidated her position, 
dismissed first the United Front govern- 
ment in Kerala (October 1969) and next 
the government in West Bengal (March 
1970). After reluming to power in 1980, 
Mrs Gandhi's show of gratitude towards 
the Marxists was at best lukewarm. 

Today, it is a more matured, though 
not necessarily much stronger, CPI(M) 
that is once again actively intervening in 
national politics. By August last year, 
the Marxists had realised that the 
domestic political situation was changing 
dramatically and that it was time to 
strike. The CP1(M) central committee 
meeting in August 1987, pointed out: "In 
the last 40 years since independence, 
India has never witnessed such shocking 
developments concerning the central 
cabinet. They speak of the inner crisis of 
the Congress(i) paity, the loosening 
hold of Rajiv over ministerial colleagues 
and Congress leaders and a growing 
emboldened Opposition inside the par- 
ty... The developments of the last four 
months reveal that the Congress(I) as a 
party is daily going down in the estimate 
of the people and day by day losing its 
unity and cohesion." 

And what better time to act? I.-i 
August itself, CPKM) elders deddta 
that "the main houtgeoiselandlonl party 
is in a much more weakened position 
than before to withstand a united assault 
of popular movement and parties". Tak- 

24 



ing note of the mass actions and protests 
talong place in various states against the 
policies of the Congress(I) government, 
the Marxists resolved to worm their 
way to the leadership of "these mass 
actions and ensure that the full force of 
Left and democratic forces rallies behind 
them". From this it followed that the 
most expedient and potentially popular 
line woidd be the demand for the res- 
ignation of Prime Minister R^jiv Gandhi 
and a fresh poll. 

But this is a tactical ploy — ^not to be 
confused with actual intentions. And 
CP1(M) leaders admit it in so many 
words. "It would be wrong or overesti- 
mating the situation to raise the slogan 
of an alternative government, which 
means a viable and real alternative to the 
Congress(l)," the CP1(M) central com- 
mittee qualified in its August 1987 meet. 
The idea, as they admitted, was to 
increase the strength of the Left and 
democratic forces duriiig this time and 
not to bid for power at the Centre. For, 
the Marxists admit that the achieve- 
ments of "the three Left Front govern- 
ments is still not a slogan of action 
everywhere". 

The key to success is the Opposition, 
provided it can be weaned away from the 
BIP. which is a natural enemy of the 
Marxists. The CPI(M) knows that the 
BJP is a rebtively more powerful force 
in the Hindi heartland and a natural 
partner for most Oppo^on parties 
desperate to make inro^s into Congres* 
8(0 Strongholds fhe BJP too has ^ed 
foe anthR^iv Gandhi actions by dari^ing 
itr^taoce at its Emakulam conference 

hehi kC of January this 

year. 

ed the economic bank- 



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iIm b I cnidil pracondNion for 

iHOCMi h Ihft Hbidi htirtM 

uW nionwnif iiioii up|io8iiion 

pirtiM and VP. Sfaih'i Jm 

M WRn iM Leni pMIlipi P0CIIM 

ViayMnlntheUftMldeological 

indirali whidi CM bft iitibid to 11^ 
aupportoflbaiwaianliyand 

tadmtiM worit fwen 


ruptcy of the central government, the 
scants and its indiscriminate recourse 
to foreign technology but its loudest 
pronouncements were against the 
CPKM), which was described as “The 
Great Betrayers". In a pamphlet attack- 
ing the Marxists, the BJP argued that 
the seeds of the Indbn communist 
movement was sown by M.N. Roy not 
in India but in the Soviet Union and that 
this tradition continues. "When the 
CPKM) wishes to consult anyone, it 
goes to Moscow to meet Mr C^- 
bachev," quipped BJP's L.K. Advani. 
The charge that the CPKM) remained 
attached to the Soviet apron-strings 
were all the moreembairassing because 
three senior CPKM) p^litburo mem- 
bers, E.M.S. Namboodiripad, Hatkishan 
Sindi Suijeet and Samar Mukheijee, 
had indeed been summoned to Moscow 
after the 9 December rally. Now the BJP 
was propagating that the Soviets ^'prefer 
a weak Congress Prime Minbter who 
will be dependent on them, and through 
whom they can control Indb". The 

Cn(M), according to the ElJP, is sinq^ 

mouft^ anti*Ra^ slogans but in the 
end will heh> out the Congress party as it 

SUNDAY 17-23 JiniMfy IWS 









SPECIAL REPORT 



camp Mrt that doM not iMMiw 
havo to support Rajiv Gandhimal 
counts.” Namboodhipairsailmission 
madeat the ond of the party's 
co n tr o l com m Moomo^ In 
Calcutta onSJanuarycontradctod 
his prsvlous remarks to the New 
DeN press 

has always done m the past and prevent 
a total Opposition unity. 

T he refusal of the Marxists to support 
Zail Singh on the ground that it did 
not want to get involved in factional 
intrigues and its steadfast attempts to 
keep out the BJP from any Opposition 
alliance has fuelled suspicions alMUt the 
CPI(M) playing along with Moscow's 
calculations. Rattled by these accusa* 
tions, Namboodiripad admitted for the 
first time that the Soviets indeed wanted 
to support Rgjiv Gandhi. Namboodir- 
i[»d, however, insisted that the CP1(M) 
differs from the Soviet Union on this 
count: "The Soviets want Rajiv Gandhi 
in Delhi because he is in the peace camp 
but that does not mean we have to 
support Mr Gandhi on all counts." Nam- 
boodUripad's admission made at the end 
of the party's central committee meetii^ 
in Calcutta on 8 January contradicted his 
previous remHilcs to the New Delhi 
press, denying that the Soviets had 
raised any domestic political issues dur- 
ing their 16-18 December Moscow visit. 

Both Nainlx)odiripirt and Ms ixe^ 

colleague, B.T. Ranadhre, took pains to 

SUNDAY 17--S3 Juntwy 1086 


explain that the CPl(M) and the CPSU 
(Soviet Communist Party), despite hav- 
ing cordial party-to-party relations, did 
not concur on ^1 issues. For instance, 
they claimed that the CPI^) did not 
agree with the current Soviet view on 
the role of Stalin in the process of Soviet 
socialism building. The Soviets so far 
had apparently cmly highlighted the 
negative aspens of St^ and only 
(forbachev recently instituted research 
to find out Stalin's positive contributions. 
Similarly, argued Namboodiripad, the 
CPI(M) a^ees with th. CPSU's assess- 
ment of internatioitr- x)litics and has 
supported the Congress(l)'s foreign poli- 
cy. "But on internal matters we have 
always been critical of the Centre.” 

Namboodiripad, wittingly or unwit- 
tingly, admitted that their main concern 
was that the drift in Rajiv Gandhi's 
internal and international p^des might 
jeopardise India's foreign policy stand. 
'Fhe Soviets too are known to be uncom- 
fortable with Rajiv Gandhi's vacillating 
tendendes and his unpredictability. If 
Rajiv Gandhi were to suddenly ally with 
rif^tist forces like the BJP<— and covert- 
ly with the RSS which has been issuing 
^uctive signals to the Congressd) — 
India's foreign policy could undergo a 
radical shift. WMle such a possibility is 
remote at the moment, it could be to the 
Soviet Union's advantage to have the 
Indian Left in a podtion d stren^h fixnn 
where it could influence foreign and 
other national policies. And the Marxists 
have yet to disprove this possibility. 

For the moment, the CPI(M) is totally 
immersed in the task of coalescing the 
so-called "secular and democratic” 
Opposition parties. The December con- 

cbve of wmCongKssCD cMrt rnfaiis^ 

was a major step in that daectkm and 


today seven state governments have 
fonned a tentative alliance, including 
Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengpd, 
Tripura, Assam. Mizoram and Karnata- 
ka. So careful is the CPI(M) in wanting 
to ensure that this alliance endures that 
it has refused to adopt a critical position 
on the charges of corruption against 
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N.T. 
Rama Rao. The Marxists maintain that 
they will not take a firm stand on the 
NTR issue until the final court verdict 

The CP1(M) is convinced, and riditly 
so, that the cooperation of secular allies 
is a crucial precondition for success in 
the Hindi heartland. The next big step is 
the Bharat Bandh, which, in the words 
of the CPI(M) central committee resolu- 
tion, "when carried through successfully 
will be a vital linkin the o^oing struggle 
to defeat the Rajiv Gandhi government”. 
For the moment, most Opposition par- 
ties and V.P. Singh's Jan Morcha are 
with the Left, perhaps because they see 
in the Left an ideological umbrella which 
can be utilised to win support of the 
peasantry and industrial work force. The 
Left is also using its non<ommunal, and 
caste-free image to maxim^jm advan- 
tage. And as the movement led by the 
Left gathers momentum, raising issues 
of corruption, electoral reforms and 
restructunng of centre-state relations, 
the CPI(M)'s plan is to operate as a 
watdidog and pressure group. 

Whether this modest role will con- 
tinue is, however, open to question. 
For, Left leaders are not without aq;ibi- 
tion. CPI's Gunidas Dasgupta says that 
the current experiment will not be 
reminiscent of the Janata coalition and 
"this time the Left parties are going to 
lead the alliance". West Bengal's 
CPI(M) leaders too ai e straining at the 
leash held by the older, more cautious 
politburo members, Jyoti Basu, for inst- 
ance, had gone a step further and 
decided that a national alternative is 
already at hand and in Hyderabad, just 
before the 9 December rally, had given a 
call for the fonnation of a "United Front” 
against the Rajiv Gandhi government, 
llie United Front concept, political pun- 
dits point out, is wider than the narrow 
"Left and democratic front" concept, in 
that it does not preclude the involve- 
ment of rightist parties for electoral 
alliances. Older Marxist leaders, in all 
their pronouncements, are trying to 
keep larger ambitions at bay but the call 
for the ouster of Rajiv Gandhi at the 
Centre can only have one natural condu- 
sion: ultimate Marxist supremacy in 
New Delhi. Attempts at forming half- 
way houses can only end in disaster. 



25 



COVER STORY 



Wives and 
lovers 


A hitter battle to wrest control of the 
AIA DM K followed the death of MGR. 
While the group led by MGR's widow, 

V.N. Janaki, has emerged victorious, 
Jayalalitha Jayaram's faction 
is waiting in the wings... 

T hey are the unlikeliest of two storey bungalow on Pr>es Garden 

adversaries -in life, as well Kc^ad in Madras, hoping that their 

as in Tamil Nadu’s lurid cine- l^uratchi Seivi (Revolutionary Daughter) 

ma of the absurd. V.N. Janaki would ap[K»ar on thf crescent-shaped 

Ramachandran, the 64-year- balcony, smiling and waving to the chant 

old wife of matinee idol M.G. Kamachan- of slogans. Besides, she is intelligent, 

dran, the departed chief minister, had all Her past six years as propaganda secret- 

along been the unobtrusive housewife ary to tlie t)arty have help^ her under- 

who left her none-too-distinguished stand the raw process of politics. If the 

acting career many years ago to live with future of the AlAUMK were ever in 

her ‘hero’ of three films, and, later on, to question after the demise of its creator, 

marry him. Myopic, portly, suffering Jayalalitha alone was qualified to answer, 
from heart problems and living in perpe- Bonaparte-like, “C’esf mof...” 
tual awe of her imperious husband --she But. by a strange reversal of roles, 
could ha\e been the Me noire of Janaki emerged at the top in Tamil 

women’s libbers but never the heart- Nadu’s bitter race for power, soundly 

throb of the Tamil masses who fell beating her young and beautiful rival. On 

orphaned on 24 December last when 7 January, when she took the oath of 

MGR, their Furatchi 'Fhalaivar (Revolu* office and secrecy as the state’s ninth 

tionary Hero) died in his sleep. and its first woman chief minister, it 

On the other hand, Jayalalitha spelt the anti-climactic end to a fort- 

Jayaram, the sultry siren of the Tamil night-long political cliffhanger. “I feel the 

cinema of the Seventies, seemed to blessings of my husband on me,” she 

have everything going for her. At a told one of her close friends at Marma 

slightly bulging 40, she is still the lone Beach, where MGR had been buried, 

crowd-puller of All India Anna Dravida shortly after takjpg over power from 

Munnetra Kazhagham (AIADMK), th^i - acting chief aiinister V.R. Nedun- 
party founded by M(iR, her lovei- .ch^;,hi|^n. But the mystical blessing 
leader. On any day since MGR's passing f^^oed^Jayalalitlia Her fen-crowd began 
away, at least 200 of her fens still gather that day, and she was 

in front of the imposing iron gate of her not at the balcony. And, for 



26 



ow) JayiUilltlMi on ono of her oirllor moto contact programmoa 



The dark horaOim 
Janald who not only 
inflicted a crushing 
defeat on her tival 
hut gave the lie to 
the general belief 
that she was a mere 
pa^ m the hands 



her 30-odd followers in the 131 -strong 
AlADMK Legislature Party, it was the 
end of the battle. Herded for days from 
Madras to Bangalore, Bombay and In- 
dore, many of them were sending feel- 
ers to the victorious camp if they could 
switch sides. In her brief stint in politics, 
Jayalalitha had often tasted tactical fai- 
lure. But, for the first time, she was 
pushed out of the cast. 

Jayalalitha's fall, in a way, was ex- 
pected because, from the word go, she 
lacked a majority in the ruling party and 
could win ^e chief ministerial ^weep- 
stakefs only through an active interven- 
tion and support Wn the 64-member 
Congress(I) party. But the Congress(l) 
had announced at the outset that it 
would not tilt the balance either way, 
and Jayalalitha thus stood no chance. But 
the dark horse was Janaki herself who 
not only inflicted a crushing defeat on 
her rival but gave the lie to the general 
belief that she was a mere pawn in the 
hands of R.M. Veerappan, the wily local 
administration minister in her husband's 
cabinet and their film company's erst- 
while manager. "She Ganaki) is a leader 
by her own right,” when Veerappan said 
these words immediately after the 
swearing-in ceremony, there was more 
to it than panegyric. In a dramatic 
display of self-confidence, the fledgling 
chief minister had kept to herself all key 
portfolios, including home, general admi- 
nistration, elections, revenue and fi- 
nance. 

Yet she lost no friend. Veerappan, 
unmindful of immediate personal gains (it 
was Veerappan who put her in the race 
within a week of MGR’s death) stood 
like a rock beside the new chief minister 
when she, clad in a blue silk san, took 
oath under a shaniana on the lawns of 
Raj Bhavan, in the Guinay suburb of 
M^as. In a day's manoeuvre prior to 
that, Veerappan had secured, in addition 
to the 97 MLAs loyal to Janaki, the 
support of one MLA each of the Republi- 
can Party of India and All India Forward 
Bloc, another MLA of the Indian Union 
of Muslim League and of G.K. Francis, 
the lone nominated member belonging to 
the Anglo-Indian community. In a 235- 
member House, the effective strength 
of which has been reduced to 223 
following the expulsion of 12 DMK 
legislators last year, the AlADMK of 
Janaki needed only ten more MLAs to. 
prove its absolute majority when the 
Assembly is convened. Thanks to 
Veerappan's energetic diplomacy, the 
target seemed close enough. 

Janaki's victory came in the wake of a 
snap and extensive cleavage in the 
AlADMK hierarchy in which no logic 
could be found. For example, Nedun- 


27 




Janakl's cabinet being aworn In; (from left to right) P.U. Shanmugham, C. Ponnalyan, $. Muthuswami: new power structure 


chezhiyan, who had all along been 
opposed to Jayalalitha. found himself in 
her camp this time round. And so did S. 
Ramachandran, who had for long been 
MGR’s bliie eyod boy. On the other 
hand. P.U. Shanmugham. who took his 
seat in the new eiglit-inember cabinet, 
was known to have differen4:es with 
Veerappan. But it was clear that Jayala> 
litha had been outmanoeuvred on every 
front: legislative, political and judicial. 

She clearly did not bargain for the 
state Governor, S.L. Khurana, enter- 
taining the Janaki-Veerappan lobby's 
claim of majority without any hesitation. 
“The Centre will order the Governor to 
test the majority on the floor of the 
House," this was the pat assertion of 
circles close to her a week before the 
final choice. But no such 'help' from the 
Centre was forthcoming, and Khurana’s 
hands were free in waving Janaki into 
office following his “person^ satisfac- 
tion" that she had the requisite majority. 

On the political front, the Jayalalitha 
group was doomed from the very begin- 
ning. her followers being able to muster 
the support of 'only 32 MLAs when she 
was hurriedly installed by her faction as 
the “general secretary" of the party. 
Repeated attempts by her followers in 
Delhi to enlist the support of the Con- 
gress(l) failed to yield any result. K.S. 
R. Ramachandran. former minister and 
an ardent jayalalitha supporter, made 
only a last-ditch effort at salvaging tne 
leader by organisin^in the style of 
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N.li 
Rama Rao— a 'conducted tour* a 32 
MLAs. obviously to keep them away 
from voting in favour d the janaki 

^ faction. But the move was too late, and 

28 


the men were too few. to reverse the 
fide of events. Finally on 6 January when 
K.S. Rajaval, a follower of S. Ramachan- 
dran, moved the city civil court. Madras, 
challenging janaki's election as the lead- 
er of the Legislature Party, the die had 
already been cast. 

While jayalalitha was left only with the 
hard option, that of mobilising support 
among the people through a b^storm- 
ing tour of the districts, political pundits 
were in a quandary as to how janaki was 
able to move to the forefront of the 
battle so soon, upstaging not only jayala- 
litha but also her weighty colleague, 
Veerappan. “On popular demand." said 
V.V. Swaminathsm, the reappointed in- 
formation minister, in the manner of any 
show-business impresario. But highly- 
placed government sources told Sunday 
in clear terms that janaki had fought the 
succession battle all by herself, making 
her intentions clear frtm the very begin- 
ning. and Veerappan was perhaps left 
with no option but to accept her as the 
chief minister. 

I n fact, the succession battle began 
while MGK's body was lying at Kama- 
varam Gardens. Aiumug^, security 
officer to the late chief minister, who has 
recently been recommended for promo- 
tion to the rank of additional superinten- 
dent of police by superseding several 
officers, was the first to mention it to 
janaki: and that too in front of hundreds 
df guests who lud gathered in the house 
on receiving the news of MGR's death. 
An iQside source in the chief ministerial 
%si|^nce says: “For the two days that 
i lay in state, there were 

I unetfflllpetitions by the pe^^ 


to the widow to take over the reins of 
the state. Arumugham was in the lead. 
He was followed by driver Ramaswamy. 
and Mahalingarn, the unofficial persoiud 
assistant to the chief minister, 'lliere 
was also the personal barber and the 
makeup artist who always put grease on 
MGR’s face before any public appear- 
ance. By 26 December Madam Oanaki) 

I had almost agreed to join the fray." 

It was, in fret, a miniaturised version 
of the drama in New Delhi in the evening 
of 31 October, 1984.when Rajiv Gandhi’s 
personal aides and friends were rooting 
for him as the next Prime Minister even 
while the body of his slain mother lay in 
hospital. However, sources aver, on 26 
December. 1987, a day after MGR's 
burial, janaki summoned a trusted frmily 
astrologer, Shankara Iyer, from his vil- 
lage. The astrologer with a flowing white 
beai’d moved into Ramavaram Gardens 
in a private taxi the same evening. He 
reportedly advised janaki to bid for chief 
ministership, and even the muburtham 
was fixed: after 9 am on 7 January (“And 
so be it”). The source adds: “From that 
point of time, janaki had no doubt as to 
her role ordained by destiny. The only 
problem was: who will mention it.” 

But she needed her trusted men back 
as soon as possible. High up on the list 
was M. Paramasivam, the h^y-trusted 
secretary to the erstwhile cfrld minis- 
ter. who had gone on a month’s leave 
two days before his master’s death to his 
native village in Salem district. On the 
night of 28 December, a message went 
out to him from janaki on the atate 
wireless network, asking him to rush 
back. When a frtigued and unshaven 
Paramasivam appeared before her the 


tUNUAY 17-23 JUluvy IflW 



(’OVKR S TORY 




V.N. Janaki Ramachandran, the 
64-year-old widow of MGR» had all 
along been the unobtrusive housewife. 
Myopic, portly, suffering from heart 
problems, she could never be the 
heart-throb of the masses' 


Jayalalitha Jayaram, the sultry siren 
of the Tamil cinema of the Seventies, 
seemed to have everything going for 
her. At a slightly bulging 40, she is still 
the lone crowd-puller of the AIADMK," 
the party founded by MGR 



next morning, Janaki reportedly asked 
him: “If I become the chief minister, will 
you continue to be my secretary?” 

That was perhaps the happy prologue . 
All the while, Veerappan, sitting at his 
home on 'niirumalai Pillai Road, was 
blissfully unaware of these moves and 
was mustering his strength only to 
defeat japlalitha. Janaki had to express 
her ambition to Veerappan somehow, 
but she could not be so cussed as to do it 
herself. Her opportunity came when 
Palakadai Pandi, the former district 
secretary, Madurai, of the AlADMK, 
visited her home. Pandi had earlier been 
sacked from his post by MGR on a flimsy 
charge. It was aUeged that during a party 
conference in Madurai he had ikxlily 
lifted Jayalalitha to the podium out of 


momentary exuberance, forgetting the 
fact that touching the lady would be 
construed as an oftence by the supremo. 
Since then, Pandi had become closer to 
“J-One”. the popular shorthand for Jana- 
ki, than “J-Two”, Jayalalitha, who, he 
felt, had never raised her little finger to 
save him. 

Janaki reportedly pleaded with Pandi 
to go to the MLAs with the tidings that 
she would join the rar; . Pandi a^eed, 
and went to K. Kal'^uthu, a l^dred 
soul and an assistant general secretary 
of the party who, after being sacked 
from the MGR ministry, could not be 
reinducted into the cabinet because of 
several enquiries pendi*^g against him. 
The pro-Janaki ginger group snowballed 
as the Pandi’Kalimuthu combine was 


able to convince transport minister S. 
Muthuswamy, who is no great admirer 
of Veerappan, that MGR’s widow would 
make the best chief minister. 

Veerappan’s first reaction to the sug- 
gestion was one of utter disbelief. He 
had for far too long played the trusted 
manager to the household, having in- 
sisted on receiving a “salary” of Rs 300 
per month, and knew that he was 
defenceless if Janaki laid claim to the 
chief ministership. He argued in vain 
with Kalimuthu and company, telling 
them that Janaki could well be the party 
president but would not be accepted as 
the chief minister. But the pressure was 
mounting on him, and he could feel it. On 
31 December, a gaggli^ of about a 
hundred party workers visited his resi- 
dence, including nearly 20 MLAs, and 
urged him to accept Janaki as the chief 
minister. An earthy politician, Veerap- 
pan immediately saw the writing on the 
wall, and complied. Later on, he told a 
close aide: **Boodhani kahnmbirukku. Idu 
enge poyi mudiyum tberiyale (The genie 
is out of the bottle. I don’t know where it 
is going to lead).” 

It led to several things which neither 
Veerappan, a successful producer of 
films, nor Jayalalitha had ever scripted. 
On the day of her installation as the chief 
minister, Janaki reopened a file signed 
by her husband which sanctioned a 
Tongal* ^ant of Rs 5(K) to each of the 
one million state government em- 
ployees, and made an aiuiouriccment 
pegging it down to Rs 350. So, even 
before Veerappan could say Janaki, the 
newly-elected chief minister had com- 
mitted an outgo of Rs 35 crores while 
the state's bu^et deficit stood at Rs 26 


AlADMK MLAs owing allsgiancs to V.N. Janaki at the Ra) Bhavan: show of strength 



29 


crores. Even while Veerappan stood i common inheritors. While Sampath affairs K. Natwar Singh, then on tour, 

speechless by the side of his new chief ! chaperoned her all the while, Janaki and pleaded ^th him to get in touch with 

minister, appearing before the press : avidly showed who was the boss. On the Rajiv Gandhi, holidaying in Lakshad- 

four hours after her swearing-in in a i eve of ministry-making, Veerappan weep at the time. Ramachandran felt 

different cream-coloured printed sari. ' wanted the lucrative transport portfolio slighted as Rajiv never came on the line: 

there was hardly anything that he could . to go from the hands of Muthusw^y to it was a different story earlier when the 

do to curb the govtTnment's prodigal his protege: C. Ponnaiyan. But, what Prime Minister had praised him in public 

ways. * ' Veerappan proposed, Janaki disposed, for his role in the Indo-Sri Lanka agree- 

But, by then, she had teamed up with . and transport remained with Muthus- ment. On new year’s day, Jayalalitha’s 

powerful friends, notably Sulochana i wamy. supporters were virtually forced to 

Sampath, chairperson of the Tamil Nadu ' announce her as the general secretary 

Industrial Development Corporation I I nahk* lo take advantage of this clash as janaki proclaimed herself as the chief 

(TIDCOJ, and granddaughter of , wof self-interest, the Jayalalitha minister-designate and her 97 MLA- 

‘Periyar’ E.V. Kamaswaniy Naicker, the j lobby was all the while hoping for the followers met to unanimously elect her 

spiritual mentor of the Kazhagham | Congress(I) to intervene. S. Ramachan- as their chief. With S. Raghavanandam, 

movement of which both the legendary dran, supposedly closest to the Centre, senior deputy general secretary, dub- 

C.N. Araiaduraiand MGR were the I contacted minister of state for external bingjayalalitha's appointment illegal, and 


AIAOMK supporter fails at the feet of Janaki, but at Veda Nilayam (inset), Jayalalitha s residence, there were crowds, too 




COVKR STORY 


the Jayalalitha camp, in its turn, calling 
Janaki’s choice unconstitutional, the 
crack in the AIAOMK seemed complete 
and irrevocable. “We wanted Madam 
(Jayalalitha) to become the party chief 
and anybody belonging to their faction to 
become the chief minister, but they 
wouldn’t listen,” begrudged Salem Kan- 
nan, AlADMK MF and Jayalalitha 
loyalist. 

But neither side was in a conciliatory 
mood. Close on the heels of jayalalitha's 
“appointment” as general secretary, re- 
portedly in the presence of 15 of the 20 


AlADMK district secretaries, Raghaya- 
nandam locked up the party headquar- 
ters on Lloyds Road, deposited the key 
with Veerappan and got a police unit 




Highly-placed government sources 
sidd that Janaki had fought the 
succession battle aU by herself, 
making her Intentions clear 


Jayalalitha was left with the hard 


option, that of mobilising support 


among the people through a 
barnstorming tour of the districts 



camped near the gate to “prevent the could not really count on the Congres- 

cntr y of unauthorised persons.” Clear- s(I)’s supiwrt even thougli the Congres- 

ly, the “J-2 camp” was outwitted and s(I) had remained neutral all along the 

thrown off balance. It scrupulously succession drama. The Congress(l), 

stayed a\vay from the swearing-in cere- particularly (L K. Mo<»panar, the AH 

mony, Jayalalitha wTote, without much India Congressd) Committee (AICC-I) 

ostensible provocation, a virtual SOS to general secretary, is wary oC Vt*erap- 

the Governor, complaining* of harass- pan. But actual desertion of MLAs 

ment of her followers by police, and belonging to the Jayalalitha camp can 

urging him to intervene in order to begin only when it becomes apparent 

restore “nonnalcy” in the state. On the that their leader has given up the fight, 

other hand, the “J-1” lobby was sending ! Hence Jayalalitha's militant posture, di- 
feeler after feeler to ex-ministers in the plomatic moves and attempts to rustle 

rival camp to come back. up mass support by touring the state. In 

However, Janaki may have won the the game of political chess, upsets are 

battle, but not the war. Her letter of always possible. Then, who knows, she 

appointment from the lovemor spelt may be able to lure away a large chunk of 

out that' she had to pij\ j, within three ! pro-Janaki MLAs, build bridges with a 
weeks from her installation as chief j fence-sitting Congress(I), and eventual- 
minister, that she could command the j ly storm into Fort St. George, the 
support of “112 MLAs” in a house of 222 secretariat building from where her 

sans the Speaker. But the Jayalalitha lover had ruled the state, and which is 

group was Pi essing for raising the figure now occupied by her rival in life and 

to 118 on the plea that the 12 DMK politics. 

legislators who had been expelled last Thus, for the two women, lime is of 

year for burning pages from the Con- the essence. When M(^R was alive, his 

stitution had moved the Supreme Court, legendary skill with women and the 

and thus stood an equal chance of weight of his authority allowed them to 

returning to the House. “The Governor j live and let live, hating each other 
cannot presume, ” said a strategist in the | maybe, but not to the point of destroying 
Jayalalitha camp, “that these 12 are each other. As MGR alternated his 

non-members at least until the affection between his women, they 

Election Commission calls for fresh elec- traded places in the sun. basking by turn 

tions to the constituencies vacated by in the reflected glory of the powerful 

them.” The Governor did not im- man. But, as his b^y lies now under six 

mediately show his hand, but political- feet of sand, the rivalry has only shar- 

watchers admitted that it would be pened, with their respective supporters 

well-nigh impossible for Janaki to get the egging them on into a death-combat. If 

support of 118 MLAs even after assum- Janaki relents at this stage, Jayalalitha 

ing that the 10 members of the DMK will reduce to nullity all the advantage 

who have retained their seats (by not she has gained by forming the govem- 

being implicated in Constitution-burning) ment. If Jayalalitha gives way. ^r fol- 

would extend their support to the new lowers will instantly cross over to the 

chief minister. winning side. Such an open-ended script 

For Janaki, ^refore, the name of the MGR, the movie Mughal, could never 
game was winning back MLAs from acceiH. Or perhaps, he alone could. 
Jayalalitha’s fold at the soonest. She fwttn / MMm. 


Photographs: Tarap.'ida Bannerjeo 


31 








When MGR was alive, 
titey fought for him. Now 
Janaki and JayaUUitha are 
fighting over his political 
legacy 


I n July 1982, soon after Jayala* 
litha’s apprenticeship in politics 
had begun under the benign eye 
of MGR, she wrote to Valampuri 
John, Rajya Sabha member of the 
AlADMK and a fiery orator: “They say 
if you aim for the sky, you will at least hit 
the ceiling. If 1 can succeed in becoming 
half as good an orator as you are, as far 
as I am concerned, that will be at least 
hitting the ceiling indeed.*' Six years 
later, and with MGR absent from the 
scene. Jayalalitha has added substantially 
to her reservoir of oratorial. and politic- 
al. skill. But she has hit the ceiling too. 
literally as well as metaphorically. In her 
protected world, she had always taken 
cues from people— her mother, her 
directors and her lovers. But now she 
can no more play the lady of the lake, 
and must step out in the heat and dust of 
politics. 

In the first week of the new year, she 
indeed did so, addressing a rally at 
Madurai to mark the beginning of her 
month-long ‘meet the people' campaign. 
But there was a sea-change. Gone were 
the days when trucks and buses would 
be deployed by the AIADMK to swell up 
the massive Jayalalitha rent-a-rallies. 
Gone were the days when at least a 
thousand policemen would wait in 
attendance wherever she spoke, and 
Anna, the official organ of the party, 
would publish exhortatory invitations to 
partymen to listen to her. As the editor 
of a Madias weekly succinctly put it: 
“Jayalalitha was being groomed as Marie 
Antoinette. Now all of a sudden she is 
being called upon to play Joan of Arc." 

That may be an exaggeration, but 
perfectly understandable in the context 
of Jayalalitha's ability to threaten and 
tease the male psyche. There might 
have been as many women who had 
woven in and out of MGR’s life as 
tourists through the Gateway of India, 
lliere was Saroja Devi who had once 
been the reigning queen of the seraglio. 
There was Latha for a long while and 
Padmini for a brief while, jan^ herself, 
after her tempestuous love-affoir with 
MGR in the course of which she had to 
walk out on her husband, remained the 
prima donna of the household for thiee 
long decades. But Jayalalitha was diffe- 
rent. She was not just MGR's playmate. 
§he had the grit, intelligence and pos- 
^ssive instinct to either dominate or 
destroy the charmed coterie around the 
sick old chief niinister who was alnnost of 
Klief father's With MGR aroundr she 

t/^^^^l^^Jeutenants. Now that 
MGR most of her battle is 

^^'^ JK^ving herself from their 


retributive ire. Now you know why she 
wants political power! 

Her home at Poes Garden is now the 
regular meeting place of ex-ministers 
loyal to her: V.R. Nedunchezhiyan. 
number two in the MGR cabinet. S. 
Ramachandran. K. Rajaram and K.S.R. 
Ramachandran. Of the 23-member 
AIADMK Parliamentry Party, she has 
eleven among her supporters, including 
deputy speaker of the Lok Sabha, Tham- 
bidurai. Altogether 32*party MLAS vi- 
sited her at her home in the first week of 
January, ignoring a strict fiat from chief 
minister Janaki Ramachandran's second- 
in-command, R.M. Veerappan, not to do 
so. But Jayalalitha, the {^1. never grew 
up as a gregarious politician, nor were 
the men ^ways beholden to her. As late 
as Febru^ 1985, she identified in a 
published interviewNedunchezhiyan as a 
member of “the unscrupulous coterie" 
around MGR, and said that she would 
smash the coterie “like an avenging 
Kali". Now a part of the coterie has 
rubbed off on her. and looks upon her as 
passport for its return to power. For. 
despite Jayalalitha's sheltered poBtical 
background, she alone is the AIADMK 
politician with a movie image— the sine 



32 



qua non of political success in the order 
created by MGR. 

A part of the reason is that she is an 
extremely competent actress, having 
proved her mettle in her very first film, 
Venir Actai (The lady in white), directed 
by Sridhar in 1965. She was a girl of 17 
then, and the brightest kid at Church 
Park School where she topped in aD the 
subjects, including “ref^lar attendance*'. 
But she built her charisma not through 
the so-called nice roles but in course of 
the heavy duty MGR films—a 28-film* 
long saga of ritzy costumes, wild gyra- 
tions and lurid dream sequences. In 
Aayuathil Oruvan (One in a thousand), 
she, as still the lithe 17-year*old, learn- 
ing to confonn to the MGR world of the 
woman petpetually seducing the man. In 
Adimai Penn (The slave girl), she was 
the flip-side of Professor Higgins, 
teaching a captive MGR, unable to walk 
properly, the basics of life and, of 
course, love. 

Jayalalitha got a national award not for 
acting in any of the MGR movies but for 
her role wim Sivaji Ganesan in the Tamil 
remake of the Hindi film, Khilona, Still, 
her star-image, which alone could even- 
tually put her on the liigh road to political 


fame, was built on the tacky and rum- 
bustious MGR films, a pot-pourri of 
leg-show and hot rhetoric. These films, 
rather than her more sobre ones, draw 
packed audiences whenever they are 
released now. Even while the political 
drama in Madras was in full swing last 
week, video shops on Mount Road were- 
unable to provide a sinf^ tape of 
Aimamitta Kai (The hand that fed), her 
last (1972) film with MGR, the demand 
oeing so overwhelming. 

But she is far from the crass Tamil 
screen siren that her movie image would 
project. Bom in a rich Brahmin family in 
Mysore, Jayalalitha had a depth of emo- 
tional experience which certainly did not 
cut her out for a political career in the 
make-believe world of MGR*s 
AlADMK. She lived a real life. Later in 
her years, when she attempted an 
autobiography in a serialised first-person 
interview in the mass-circulated Tami] 
weekly, Kumudam, she wrote of her first 
memory when she was not even two: 
that of her father jayaram's body being 
hauled into a car at early dawn. Her 
father had put an end to his life. In fret, 
she had always been obsessed with the 
right to die with dignity. Writing in Cho 


Ramaswamy’s Tughluq magazine, she 
fervently pleaded once in favour of 
mercy killing. 

Jayalalitha has always been a lonely 
person. Mani, a lightboy at M(iR’s 
Sathya Studios, mentions that he never 
saw her engaging in gossip with the film 
crowd between shots. Anandan, her 
secretary for 12 years and editor of the 
journal, Film News, says that she ‘nev- 
er had firiends as such". Rather than 
chasing political goals, her pursuits had 
always been personal— such as attemp- 
ting novels, short stories, magazine 
articles and an autobiography. Apart 
from the autobiography. Manam Thiran’ 
thu Fesukiren (One from the heart), 
which she mysteriously terminated after 
serialising it for 29 weeks in Kumudam, 
Jayalalitha also wrote a novel in Kaiki 
which bore* close resemblance to her 
own life story: a film actor involved in 
extra-marital love. 

Though she became a celebrity at the 
age of 17 (unlike Dimple Kapadia, the 
Bobby girl, she was not a one-film 
wonder), she remained all along an 
introvert. Her acquaintances say that 
her father's death had left a scar and 
maybe she had deep psychological iden- 
tification with her actress-mother, San- 
dhya, who passed away in 1976. But she 
had a traumatic experience with men in 
general. Shobhan Babu, the Telugu 
movie star once deeply attached to her, 
walked out on her after the affair became 
public. And MGR, perhaps, always left 
her in awe. The connection was useful 
for her, and no more. 

That is why she w^as always anxious to 
display it. In her autobiography too, she 
mentions how she had f^en ill one day 
(her detractors allege that she had 
attempted suicide) and MGR rushed to 
her home to save her life. In fact, she 
had willingly allowed MGR to completely 
dominate her life, engaging in frenetic 
political activity when MGR approved, 
but clamming up whenever the lights 
went red. In 19^, soon after MGR had 
a massive attack and was subsequently 
shifted to the United States for treat- 
ment, Jayalalitha was in an expansive 
mood, revellii^ in banistorming the 
state, giving interviews, and locking 
Veerappan, her bete noire since long, in 
wordy combats. But last year, wlien 
MGR returned again from the USA, he 
was unsparing to the woman, issuing 
stem edkrts to partymen not to have any 
truck with her. Jayalalitha had to accept 
it without a murmur. She did not open 
her mouth till MGR's death. 

Her hatred for the Janald-Veerappan 
oombiiie is elemental, not political. And 


' (Fimnltor)J«yttalKlw,8arofrDavlaiidPadmliaSvMQR'abMly:ooe^ lovsis 



■WAV JwMMy im 


33 



it is reciprocal perhaps. In her 1985 
interview, she even alleged that Janaki 
had been faking telex messages in the 
name of MGR, for Veerappan to consoli- 
date his gnp over the party and the 
administration. And, pulling out all her 
stops, she even questioned the marriage 
between Janaki and MGR. She said: 
do not want to elaborate more than 
saying that the very legality of that 
prefix Mrs for her Ganaki) is in doubt.” 
In private conversation, her shorthand 
for Veerappan was ”snake”. 

MGR at times attempted a patch-up 
between the two feuding groups, parti- 
cularly between Veerappan and Jayala- 
litha. It was at the former chief minis- 
ter’s bidding that she paid a surprise visit 
to Veerappan last year on the latter's 
60th birthday, presenting him with a 
shawl. But such patchwork alliances did 
not last, nor could Veerappan conceal for 
long his basic distrust of a woman who 


less widow pitchforked to power by her 
husband's fueding followers. As MGR's 
companion and wife for over 30 years, 
Janaki had been privy to the raw process 
of politics in Tamil Nadu through its 
most turbulent phase. She had a ringside 

I — — I 

Janakiisiio 
helpless widow 
For 30 years she 
has been privy to 
the raw process of 
politics in Tamil 
Nadu 



she not all along maintained a quiet link 
with the leaders. She did it regardlessof 
MGR's whimsical love-hate cycle which 
marked his relations with party col- 
leagues, In 1986, when Veerappan was 
puriied out of the Cabinet, his fink with 
Janaki was unimpaired. And, even during 
MGR's 17-year-long crusade agmst M. 
Karunanidtfi's DMK, many of its stal- 
warts enjoyed unimpeded access to her. 
Janaki is an actress who had walked out 
on her husband, Ganapathy Bhatt, an 
actor of bit roles, to settle down with 
MGR. But as MGR's ace detractor and 
DMK general secretary K. Manoharan, 
observes; "Janaki had always been an 
ideal housewife, the woman who cared 
not only for MGR but also for all his 
associates, past and present.” 

Like MGR, Janaki is a Malayalee bom 
in Kottayam to Nani Amma and Rajago- 
pala Iyer, a poor musician. After her 
father's death, she shifted with her 
mother to Nagapattinam and was virtual- 
ly pushed into films though she was only 
16 dien. Her mother had married again, 
and the family needed money, ^n 
after, she herself got married to Bhatt 
who, apart from playing comedy roles, 
was also her dance teacher. 

But Janaki obviously is a passionate 
woman. The fact of her marriage with 
Bhatt, and their having a son (his name 
is not available in the official biography), 
was of little consequence when she met 
a young and handsome new actor who 
had been cast against her in Marudbu- 
nattu Ilabarasi (The Princess of 
Marudhunattu) a 1950 film. 

, Though MGR had many dalliances, 
Janaki evidently had a specif place in his 
Itfe. Some of their family friends say that 
until the cerebral stroke of 1984 im- 
paired his speech, MGR would always 
take pains after each tour Of the state to 
narrate to his wife the minute details of 
which partymen said and did what. P is 
at MGR's initiative that she learnt Hindi, 
a language that she speaks with great 
fluency. 

But she would perhaps always have 
remained in the background if MGR did 
not repose his all-out dependence on her 
following his illness. Since then, she 
accompanied him wherever he went, in 
India and abroad. 

MGR himself perhaps never thought 
that one day his wife would assume the 
reins of power. Nor is it known if Janaki 
can retain the seat that circumstances 
have bestowed on her. But even as a 
temporary entrant to the political power 
game, Janaki sprang a si^se. It will 
not be easy for her enemies to cast the 
first stone. 



JanaM and Vasiappan (on her rIgM) at IIQR's 
gvava Just bafoia Ilia aataarlng-lni (biasUa 
Doaiar shows how cloaa MQR and JanaU wafo 

could spell trouble for the smu^ coterie 
over which he presided. And, towards 
Janaki. Jayalalitha's feelings ran much 
deeper than a mere political antagonism. 
More than resenting Janaki's appoint- 
ment as chief minister, she perhaps 
resents her right to the name — "Mrs 
Ramachandran”. 

O n the day she was sworn in as Tamil 
Nadu’s 11th chief minister, Janaki, 
Ramachandran was hardly the lady in 
white. In her five public appearances 
that day, she was seen in three changes 
of sari, including an orange Kanjeev. /am 
for the evening news conference, the 
price of which was put by the cognoi. 
cent! at upward of Rs 3,000. 

liut Janaki Ramachandran is no help- 


view of the 1972 split in the DMK, the 
parting of ways l^tween Karunanidhi 
and MGR, and the birth of the 
AlADMK. With an inscrutable man like 
MGR she was never quite the power 
behind the throne. But she always bad a 
way of exercising subtle influence, and 
was clever epixigh not to throw it away. 
^Thirty s'-oriny years later, it is this 
^,K|U||kfication that has come in handy. 

m following MGR's death, 

JaitjA^MW not have rustled up the 
stgi^Bf party ML As in her favour had 


34 






ONraEl£JE 

KULtNPIMVAR 


Rajiv GandhPs false pride 

At a gathering of tonera which I have eiuiched the common man's vocabulary. One can hear a 

' the other day mChamparan, in north Bihar» man demanding a price, even if it is only a cup of tea, for 

I the people were asked how they assessed ‘ services rendered: "Where is my Bofors?” It has also affected 

I their Prime Minister. The replies were the people's attitude. A peon or a derk caught red-handed 

very critical of Rajiv Gandhi. The Most taking a bribe argues: "Why are you sticky about a few rupees 

charitable remark came from a wrinkled old when crores h^e been pocketed by men at the tc^?" 

man who said: ek number ka admi This is a scenario whi^ would have i^eatly troubled a 

HB Buy nahitt nBda (he did not turn out to be the sensitive Prime Minister. But Rajiv Gandhi is not sensitive, 

best kind of person). Perhaps this truly reflects the nation's Besides a bulletproof vest, he seems to wear a criticism-proof 

disappointment with Rajiv Gandh*'s prime ministership which, cloak of arrogance. And every day in office appears to madce 

after the last general election, is now three years old. him more arrogant So much so that in his reply to the motion 

The Prime Minister has long ceased to be known as a "Mr of no-confidence against his government, he used only "I", 

Clean"; even within one year ^ his rule the dirt had begun to not once did he use "we". At one stage, he said he could 

show, llie Fairfax affsur, the Swedish Bofors gun a^ the collect a crowd at the drop of a hat; at another, he said nothing 

West German submarine deals have only thrown more mud was done to uplift the people of the nation in the last 40 years, 

on him. And the way the inquiries into these were conducted not even in the last 2,000 years, to claim that development 

has only strengthened suspicions that he is somehow involved work was being done only during his regime, 
in all the transactions in which kickbacks and commissions The Congress(D must be conscious of this but most 
were paid. Many people may justifiably say this is unfair and (Congressmen dare not even hint at the Prime Minister's 
ask for evidence. But the fact remains that the scandals have lapses. Had his arrogance been meant only for his party or his 

rocked the country, and the embarrassed government's habit personal staff, it would not have done mu(^ harm. But now he 

of giving half explanations or no explanation has increased is begini^g to direct it against whatever is left of the 

doubts, not cleared them. dennocratic institutions. 

The more Rajiv Gandhi and the CongressG) liave tried to His reiteration that he would not hesitate to dismiss 
associate the allegations against them "efforts to "anti-national" governments in the states is evidence of this 
destabilise the country"-~-a theory which the Thakkar- andthose who watched him repeating the samephrase, on the 

Natarajan Commission gulped down hook, line and sinker— Doordarshan network, must have noticed how haughty our 

the more number of people have begun to believe that the Prime Minister can be. This (^servation, ape^ from being 

government's exercise has been a cover-up. By going out of .lasty, raises some basic questions. How is the Prime 

Uie way to name Justice Thakkar as the head of the inquiry. Minister going to categorise the state governments as 

commission on the Fairfax affair and by rejecting the national and anti-national? There is no challenge to him within 

Opposition's demand that |||||||_m_||l|||||||||_ the party, and he is clearly warning those outside that he 

one of its members should woufd tolerate no challenge from them either, 

head the parliamentary com- 1 am not questioning ^iv Gandhi’s patriotism but the 

mittee on the Bofors gun StBCH W l fy fftffllM propriety of mal^ su^ statements and also what it might 

deal, the rufng party is all Ic^d to. Priyaranjan Das Munshi, the West Bengal (^gres- 

the more under a dowd. s(I) chief, has accused Jyoti Basu, the state chief minister, of 

Rqjiv Gandhi may brush |IIO|MfMlllRINIM paying scant attention to the national flag. Was that meant to 

aside all this and say that the jhlttfctltflfhliW prepare the ground for the West Bengal government's 

people who are denigrating ■ * dismissal? The way Union home minister Buta Singh, accused 

hun are in a minority. But he «villlllilllQPvBBN N.T. Rama Rao, the Andhra Pradesh chief minister, of 

is wrong. His stock is low. MNCttlHMKIliMM v- encouraging fissiparous forces in the state, may well he a 

Since he meets only a few dhCBIflillllidiflli prelude to his government being branded anti-natbiial. 

people — those who are ^ wiiMiiiiuwiwiiww ^ danger of such central action is the reason why the 

screened by his advisers — Sarkaria (Commission is believed to have su^sted that the 

and reads o^y what is put up powers of the (jovemor, on whose advice the Centre 

to him, he may be unaware of .1. > "T ^smisses a state government, are too wide; the extent his 

this. Every story, however, mmmmmmmmmammimmmmmrn "discretion" must be defined, codified and incorporated within 

exaggerated or one-sided, is generally believed and the the Constitotion so that any misuse of rules could be 

accusing ’finger is pointed towards him. The official media, challenged in a court of law. Indeed, Article 3^ gives vnde 

perticulariy Doordarshaik — the mformation minister, Ajit powers to New Delhi and the mood which Rqjiv Gandhi is in 

Panja, ofil^ vetting news bulletins— have trade things worse now, makes things doubly dangerous. He has set in motion 

by presenting only one side of the picture; even the honest such ideas which can make a mockery of aD rules, 

daims of the government have come to be doubted. A Prime Minister pressed by charges of corruption, as 

Tliatthe()ppositionisdhrided, orthatnocto R^pv Gandhi is^ can be tmpt^ to silence the (Jppositm 

to Raihr h^ emerged, does not in any way add to the initiating action against his critics and state governments that 
present regiine's credibffity. The pec 4 ^ coiiviiiced that are not on his side on the pretext that they are "and-mttional 
the is corrupt And even in remote villas one can I fear Rnjiv Gandhi may do anything to save himself if driven 

hearanirnateddisciissionsonthesuldect Infi^ tothewaHo 


35 







uestidn: What is common to 
^Bthe last three chief minis' 
^Bters of Haryana? 

Answer: The land 
scandal. 

To Stan with Bhajan Lai had given his 
consent first to what was planned as the 
£1 Dorado south of Delhi. Then came 
Bans! Lai who had said that the interests 
of his government had been sold to 
avaricious private colonisers through the 
deal and, lastly, Devi Lai has ordered a 
purge in the Chandigarh secretariat due 
to allegations of corruption marring 
Haryana’s prestigious colonising prog- 
ramme. One of the primary reasons 
cited for the septuagenarian Haryana 
leader's action against his sons — stale 
Lok Dal(B) president, Om Prakash 
Chautala and MLA, Ranjit Singh— is 
their reported role in the murky land 
transactions in Gurgaon. llie scand.al 
has, three years after it first begfn 
simmering, left in its wake the suspen- 
sion of senior bureaucrats, the resigns-^ 
tion of the de facto chief mini^i'eif 
Chautala and, in fact, precipitated the 7 
January en masse resignation of the 
Haryana Cabinet. 

What was to be Asia's model town for 
h(]iinogene3us housing byl986 is today an 


undeveloped wasteland and subject mat- 
ter of piles of litigation between the 
plot-owners and the Haryana Urban 
Development Authority (HUDA) which 
had piloted the project. In all 2.776 acres 
of land was licenced out of a total area of 
3,700 acres marked for acquisition by 
private colonisers. Licences were issued 
over five years ago to DLF (1,418 
acres), Ansals (772 acres). Utility Buil- 
ders (144 acres) and Unitech (350 
acres). In all, 28,000 dwelling units were 
proposed to be built to house 2,5 lakh 
people on the outskirts of the capital. 
Om Prafcath C hautala; Of /lacld CM 




I'he scale of the housing project was 
grandiose and the lakers for the hottest 
property in Haryana, plenty. Unfortu- 
nately, so were the pay-offs in the deal 
for the HUDA authorities and politicians 
of Haryana. 

According to Lok Dai(B) sources, Om 
Prakash Chautala's Rowing political 
clout came into play with the fixation of 
external development charges (EDC) 
for the Gurgaon colonies after allegedly 
sharing a Rs 15 crore bribe with the 
industries minister, Sampat Sin^, who 
also tendered his resignation with the 
rest of the Haryana Cabinet in early 


January. It is understood that the deal 
for fixing a lower rate of EDC thereby 
causing a loss of Rs 30 crores to HUDA 
had been done in connivance with R.S. 
Malik, secretary, town and country 
planning, who is a relative of K.N. 
Singhi the DLF chairman and the largest 
owner of licenced HUDA land in Gur- 


gaon. It was when Devi Lai got an idea 
of this pay-off that he demanded the 
resignation of Chautala and Raifiit Singhr 
both of whom had become extra 


constitutional power centres m Haryana 
though it was only against the former 
that there was a direct link-up with the 
land scandal. Ratqit Singh was made a 




land 

scam 


Three successive 
\ governments connived in 
the state's biggest-ever 
real estate racket. A 
^hw-by-blow account oj 
how the scam^^ 
mounted^^tjii 




P 


scapegoat in a situation where the land 
deals shook the Haryana government. In 
the action of asking his sons to step 
down from their posts, Devi Lai silenced 
his critics— he, perhaps, realised that 
the ramifications of the colonisation con- 
troversy would have broken the back of 
his government. 

The case against the Haryana politi- 
cians and bureaucrats began in 1985 
when the Bhsgan Lai government fixed 
Rs 1.41 lakhs as the external develop- 
ment charge per gross acre. On the face 
of it, the contract signed between 
HUDA and the four colonisers seemed 
to be balanced in favour of the licencing 
agency. Since there were provisions for 
construction of 20 per cent dwelling 
units on a no-profit basis for weaker 
sections, the colonisers were committed 
to a time-bound programme of payment 
and had surrendered to depositing any 
excess of the 15 per cent profit in the 
projects to HUDA. Curiously, due to the 
protests of the colonisers that the exter- 
nal development charge was too high,— 
on 20 August, 1985 the rate was to- 
wered to Rs 1.31 lakhs and subsequent- 
ly on 3 March, 1986, a firesh charge of 
Rs 1,060 per acre was imposed for the 
construction of roads. 


The quick transfer of power in August 
1986 to Bansi Lai and in June 1987 to 
Devi Lai resulted in various revisions of 
the external devdopment charge. This 
gave rise to speculation that there had 
been pay-o^ between the Delhi colonis- 
ers and the negotiators in the Devi Lai 
government Meanwhile, the colonis- 
ers— led by the DLF— had embarked 
upon a large-scale acquisition plan. Land 
was purchased firom formers in villages 
like Wazirabad, Sitokhera, Nathpur and 
Tunda Hera at rates rai^g from Rs 
60,000 for the first acquisitions to the 
latest purchases of Rs 2.5 lakhs per 
acre. The rush for Gurgaon was on and 
each coloniser mounted a publidty cam- 
paign and some even began bus services 
from Delhi to the sites for prospective 
plot-owners. The going rate for a plot 
when the first licences were issued was 
around Rs 250 per square yard of land to 
be developed by HUDA. As revisions 
took place— the onus of mounting instal- 
ments fell on the plot and flat-owners— 



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among them prominent non-resident In- 
dians, businessmen and government 
officials. 

By the time the Bansi Lai regime took 
over— the public response to the HUDA 
colonies was good. A decision was taken 
by the chief minister that the current Rs 
1.42 lakhs external development charge 
was inadequate and a revision should 
takej)lace. A proposal to increase the 
charge to Rs 2.97 lakhs was moved by 
R. S. Malik, secretary, town and coun- 
try planning, in May 1987 and the 
three-page proposal was despatched to 
the minister of town and countiy plan- 
ning, V. Krishan Das, for approval. 
While the proposal was mal^g its 
rounds from office to office in the HuDA 
headquarters in Chandigarh, the Bansi 
Lai government was routed in the June 
1987 Assembly elections. 

T he HUDA's present chief adminis- 
trator, Prassmna Kumar related the 
course of events once Devi Lai took 
stock of the land speculations in Gur- 
gaon: the chief minister was briefed by a 
HUDA team in the presence of his son, 
Om Prakash Chaut^a, and K.S. Malik. 
Devi Lai reportedly told them that the 
fresh rate should not be affixed without 
consulting him. The chief minister, at 
this stage is said to have turned down a 
Rs 20-crore donation by the colonisers 
for the state Drought Relief Fund. Devi 
Lai later went to ^erica for treatment. 



SUNDAY f7~23 JMMry 1988 


INVES TIGATION 


leaving the field open to the HIJDA and 
state administration to settle the conten- 
tious issue. Neither R.S. Malik nor any 
other HUDA official informed Devi I..al 
that an active proposal had been moved 
days before he took over as chief 
minister. 

On 11 SeptembtT. a meeting of the 
finance committee of HUDA was held 
and a decision was taken to increase the 
external development charge from Rs 

1.41 lakhs to Rs 2.41 lakhs per acre— 
this time recoverable over a period of 
two years. The meeting, in which the 
revision was accepted unanimously was 
attended by Sampat Singh, town and 
country planning minister and HUDA 
chairman, Onance secretary B.S. Ojha. 
M.N. Sharma, chief enfpneer HUDA, 
and Prasanna Kumar, chief administra- 
tor and director, town and country 
planning. The decision of the hike per 
acre with an additional interest rate of 18 
per cent was intimated to the Delhi 
colonisers. 

According to Haryana home ministry 
sources, it was the chief minister’s 
youngest son, Ranjit Singh, who first 
leaked the matter of the earlier Rs 2.97 
lakhs per acre proposal to the press. 
The sell-out of the HUDA to the colonis- 
ers at a lower rate when a substantially 
higher rate had already been cleared by 
the HUDA administration became hot 
news. At an emergency meeting in 
Chandigarh, Devi Lai demanded to know 
why the proposal of Rs 2.97 lakhs had 
been kept under wraps. Why did officials 
like R.S. Malik, M.N. Shanna and N.C. 
Vashisht, joint secretary, home, who 
were involved in preparing both the 
proposals, keep him in the dark? Within 
days of the press exposure, the crucial 
file could not be traced. Devi Lai took his 
"Bhrashtacharbandh** campaign forward 
by ordering the suspension of both R.S. 
Malik and N.C. Va^sht and setting up 
an enquiry commission under Ranjit 
Singh. Malik’s plea that he was not 
present during the 11 September meet- 
ing was brushed aside and his prior 
knowledge of the Rs 2.97 lakhs proposal 
was taken as complicity in the case. 
Curiously enough, the file with the 
detailed breakup of recovery of the Rs 
2.97 lakhs charge from the colonisers 
was found in the room of Prasanna 
Kumar when the official was in Delhi for 
a meeting. 

On paper, the lowering of the EDC 
rate from Rs 2.97 lakhs as mooted 
during the tenure of Bansi Lai to the Rs. 

2.41 lakhs per acre, without consulting!' 
the present chief minister, gave ihe j 
colonisers a benefit of around Rs 30 ! 
crores. Further, a provision was agreed I 
to during the 11 September meeting that I 



AccordingtoHaryanahomeministiy | 
sources, it was the chief minister’s ' 
youngest son, Ranjit Singh, who first 
leaked the matter of the earlier Rs 
2.97 lakhs per acre proposal to the 
press 


if the colonisers were willing to submit 
the development charges in one instal- 
ment, they would have to pay Rs 1.99 
lakh per acre only. The rumour in the 
secretr.riat was that the spoils had been 
offered as bribe through the DLF con- 
tacts and shared hy Chautala, Sampat 
Singh and R.S. Malik. The possibility of 
a hefty pay-off beirig shared by the 
politicians seemed possible specially 
since former chief minister, Bansi Lai’s 
son, Surinder Singh had made public an 
offer of Rs 10 crore, from the colonisers 
which he said had been flatly turned 
down by his father. Even as the land 
scandal and allegations of underhand 
payments clinching the deal between the 
HUDA and the colonisers were going 
on, Devi Lai took a stem step in the 
matter. Before the year was out Devi 
Lai decided to impose a stiff Rs 3.72 
crores external development charge on 
the colonisers. While the latest figure 
was decided in letter in Chandigarh, the 
colonisers are still awaiting an official 
intimation of the hike. 

With both Chautala and Ranjit Singh 
tendering their resignations to the Lok 
Dal(B) preside^ H.N. Bahuguna, the 
fate of the ^jiCtUiiy commission set up by 
JD^vi Lai is uncertain. Ranjit Singh, 
Weffe resi^tion was yet to be 
acceyq^piihe first week of January, 
was^j/^pestigate how the proposal of 


Rs 2.41 lakhs (in fret Rs 1.99 lakhs) was 
fixed by the HUDA officials without 
consulting the chief minister and how the 
decision was taken in the absence of the 
secretary, town and country planning. 

W hatever the outcome of the en- 
quiry, the HUDA colonies in Gur- 
gaon have become a major subject of 
^liticldng and widened the chasm be- 
tween the rival camps of Om Prakash 
Chautala and Ranjit Singh. Also, the 
fallout of the various controversies 
which have trailed the project for years 
have vitiated the relations between the 
prominent Delhi colonisers and HUDA. 
Said Prasanna Kumar about the latest 
allocation which has been branded ex- 
horbitant by the colonisers: “Earlier 
HUDA had decided to charge 50 per 
cent of the development cost from the 
colonisers but later tliis was made 100 
per cent.” 

“Why should we be used as a subsidy 
to the plot-owners?” reacted G.P. 
Khungar, executive director of the 
Ansals Group who have had their Palam 
Vihar and Sushant Lok colonies 
shrouded in uncertainty, “the series of 
hikes are patently unfair to the colonis- 
ers and consumers. The Haryana gov- 
ernment has tied the coloniser hand and 
foot without committing themselves to 
anything.” While they were acting mere- 
ly as i^st offices, the plot-holders had 
l^en sidelined and their clients had been 
le^ holding the short end of the stick, he 
said. 

As the prospect of the HUDA colonies 
becoming the most prestigious private 
colonies snuggled close to Delhi recedes 
further, a powerful bureaucrats lobby in 
Chandigarh is working overtime to undo 
the damage caused in by Devi Lai’s 
action. It has been pointed out by them 
that despite the bypassing of the earlier 
rate while affixing Rs 2Al lakhs as the 
fresh development charge, HUDA 
would not have lost much i^nce since 
the Rs 2.97 lakhs figure included Rs 
40,000 per acre as cost of construction 
of community buildings, which the 
second proposal did not takeinto consid- 
eration. It does not include Maruti 
Udyog and other industrial plot owners 
from payment of external developi^t 
charges as proposed in the Bansi Lai 
regime. Cronies of the twq suspended 
Haryana officials have a brief ready that 
covers up the Bansi Lai proposal. They 
say, it was not so much 4igainst the 
interests of HUDA. Will the bureaucrats 
in Haryana succeed in the reinstatement 
of the two IAS officers or will the 
politicians manage another cover-up? 
Only Devi Lai’s further actions will telL 
miu 


38 



NEWS 


Marxists on the defensive 



The TNYs winter 
offensive forces CM 
Chakraborty to succumb 
to the Centre's pressure to 
act tough with the rebels 

It was an eerie coinci- 
dence. Just four hours 
after the Union home 
minister, Buta Singh, 
touched do^ in the trou- 
bled state of Tripura, to 
try and wdric out a solu- 
tion to the extremist problem, the 
guerrillas struck in the tittle non-tribal 
hamlet ol Chatitabankul. It seemed as if 
the guerpUas had a premonition about 
the outcome of the talks between Buta 
Singh and Nripen Chakraborty, Tripur- 
a’s chief minister, and were hell-tent 
upon making things more difficult. 

The guerrillas went about their mis- 
sion with ruthless precision as nine 
Bengali settlers, including six women 
and two childrea fell to their bullets and 
swinging takkals (matchets). Twelve 
hours after their bodies were thrown 
into their blazing huts, the chief minister 
and home minister settled down to a 
closed-door discussion at the Raj Bha- 
van. After an hour of confabulations, the 
politicians announced that they “have no 
differences" when it came to tettling the 
Tribal National Volunteers (TNV) and 
that the problem of extremism was too 
serious to be politicised. The leaders 
had decided to jointly battle the TNV and 
had signed an agreement to the effect. 

But the signing of the agreement was 
a comedown for the octogenarian chief 
minister, who had till recently staunchly 
resisted New Delhi's suggestions that 
army units be deployed along the state’s 
sensitive eastern frontier with Bang- 
ladesh’s Chittagong Hill Tracts, where 
the TNV has its base. Though Chakra- 
borty has agreed to "sympathetically 
cons^r it”, he is adamant about not 
giving in to Buta Singh’s other sugges- 
tion of promulgating the Anti-Terrorist 
and Disruptive Activities Act in the 
disturbed areas. 

What has probably held Chakraborty 
back from launching an all-out offensive 
against the TNV is that such a step 
might alienate the tribals. Chakraborty 
also finds it diffioift to admowiedge that 


the base which the CPl(M) had ^ 
painstakingly built among the tribals of 
the state over the last three decades has 
teen completely erded. The chief 
minister is now obvf^ iv. !y one of the few 
leaders in the ruling party who is not in 
favour of putting up an, armed resistance 
to the kiUcr gangs of die TNV. Some 
CPI(M) members, led by deputy chief 
minister Dasarath Deb. have been 
urging the CM to go in for strong-ann 
methods. In fact, when in 1986, the chief 
minister had been indisposed for a spell 
of four months. Deb, who is also the 
president of the party’s tribal front, 
Upa\jati Ganamukti Parishad, allegedly 
okayed an offensive against the guerril- 
las. The result: raids on guerrilb hide- 
outs by the party’s arm^ volunteer 
group, Shanti Sena, and encounters with 
extremists leading to the death of six 


Nrlptn Chakraborty and Bull Singh 



TNV men and three Peoples Liberation 
Army (PLA) rebels. 

But. Chakraborty's intentions of a 
political solution have been in vain as the 
guerrillas continue to kill indiscriminately 
and now, as the date of the Assembly 
elections approaches — 2 February— 
they have accelerated their bloody cru- 
sade in order to disrupt the elections. 
Ite signing of a formal agre;ment on 
matters relating to counter-insurgency 
measures, deployment of forces, and 
poll-time security arrangements, also 
indicates the extent to which relations 
between the two have deteriorated. In 
fact, just before the agreement was 
signed, Buta Singh and Chakraborty had 
indulged in a bitter "letter war", with 
each giving out their letters to the press. 
At one stage, even Rajiv Gandhi had 
joined the slanging match and accused 
the state government of a "lack of 
political wiU" in tackling the extremist 
problem. The reply was not long in 
crxning— a booklet, entitled About Tri- 
pura: reply to Prime Ministers slanders, 
was published which had the CPl(M) 
commenting on a defensive note: "It will 
be incorrect to say there is no political 
will of the state government to combat 
extremism. The Left Front from the 
very beginning, has condemned the 
violence perpetrated by TNV.” 

SuMr BliMiiiilc/4iwtalt 



39 




Eclipsed by a maverick 


State Congress chief Das 
Munshi is being 
overshadowed by former 
heavyweight Ghani Khan 
Chowdhury 

E^iya Ranjan Das Munshi, 
the diminutive boss of the 
West Bengal Congress(I) 
and Union minister of 
state for commerce, has 
always been under a sha- 
dow— that of his mentor, 

I Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. But List 
week. Das Munshi seemed to be shrink- 
ing even further into the shadows. 
Except that tliis time his eclipse was due 
to electoral failure, rising resistance to 
his leadership and the return of the 
maverick Congress(I) leader, A.B.A. 
Ghani Khan Chowdhury. ITie troubles 
are all in West Bengal, and started off 
with the Congress(I)’s defeat in its 
traditional Shyampukur Assembly seat 
on 27 December last year. 

A petulint Das Munshi declared: ‘1 
refuse to accept the results of the 
Shyampukur elections as the verdict of 
the electorate.” He charged that the 
Left Front, in connivance with the 
police, had indulged in large-scale rig- 
ging and later hinted that he wanted to 
back out of the 28 February statewide 
panchaj^t elections “since the law and 
order situation in the state is not condu- 
cive to elections". But Das Munshi had 
cried wolf too often and this time even 
the majority of his own partymen were 
not prepared to swallow his allegations. 
By last week it became clear that 
Congress(I) leaders were increasingly 
rallying round Ghani Khan Chowdhury 
who has bounced back into state politics 
by launcliing a mass contact programme 
before the panebayat elections. And 
while Ghani Khan, along with other 
party leaders, addressed public meet- 
ings around the state, Das Munshi kept 
shuttling between New Delhi and C^- 
cutta, and issuing statements that were 
losing relevance with each passing day. 

I A major embarrassment Das Mun- 
I shi was former Union law minister 
Ashoke Sen's dismissal of the rigs^ 
complaint. Sen insisted that Das Munshi 
should not pass off blame on the Marx- 
ists instead of acknowledging that it was 
the Con^css(l)'s own organisational 
shortcomings that led to the debacle. 
Das Munshi’s supporters countered 

40 


by preparing detailed figures to show 
how there had been a dramatic prb-left 
swing in 20 out of the constituency’s 92 
polling booths. In five booths at the 
Maharaja Manindra Chandra College, 
where the Congress(l) candidate, Pulak 
Das, had demanded a repoli, the vote 
count showed the Marxists ahead by MO 
votes. “In the March 1987 Assembly 
elections, we had a positive margin of 
443 votes; so how could such a dramatic 
swing take place in so short a time?” 
asks Saugata Roy, the Congress(I) MLA 
who had been put in char^ of the polls. 

More than the question of rigging 
itself, it was really Das Munshi's credi- 
bility that was on the balance. Just as his 
rigging allegations were passed off with 
a shrug, Congress(l) leaders quashed 
his suggestion that party MLAs should 
resign from the state Assembly in pro- 
test against the rigging. 

“It is the Congress(I) MPs who 
should resign from Parli^nt first for 


instead of asking us to resign,” retorted 
an angry Rajesh Khaitan, MLA, who is 
also vice-president of die state Pradesh 
Congress(l) Committee. Similarly, the 
powerful party general secretary and 
MLA, Somen Mitra, dismissed the sug- 
gestion that the party should boycott the 
panebayat polls. Such a move would not 
only be “unwise”, argued Mitra, but it 
would also amount to subversion of 
parliamentary democracy. 

Das Munshi’s irrelevance in Bengal 
politics was ine\itable given his singular 
lack of success in putting the party into 
some kind of shape since he was 
appointed state boss in September 1985. 
Since then the only state leader he has 
been able to win over is Subrata 
Mukherjee, and that too only after the 
latter was threatened with expulsion 
from the party and needed someone like 
Das Munshi to plead his case in New 
Delhi. The vast majority of state party 
leaders have either been alienat^ or 
kept away fix>m important roles. 

On the other hand. Das Munshi has 
often put his foot squarely in his mouth 
when criticising the state's Marxist rul- 
ers, and in particular chief minister Jyoti 


not being able to raise West Bengal’s 
problems on the floor of the Lok Sabha 

AB.A. QhanI Khan Chowdhury addmealng a maeUnot lliy tpsach— 





■ 


NEWS 



Priya Ran|an Om Muiwhl: ovarafliadowad 

Basu. When Rajiv Gandhi said in Parlia' 
ment that he would not hesitate to 
dismiss any state government found 
indulging in anti-national activities, Das 
Munshi promptly flew to Calcutta and 
declared that Jyoti Basu was anti- 
national because he had once refused to 



hoist the national flag. He ^so inter- 
preted Basu's attempt to forge a con^n- 
sus among non-Congressfl) chief minis- 
ters as an anti-national act. 

Ghani Khan Chowdhury, in contrast, 
emerged as the most exciting Congres- 
s(l) leader. A buffoon to affluent urba- 
nites. Ghani Khan remains a messiah to 
Che lower middle-class millions, who 
constitute an articulate and politically 
active section of West Bengal society. 
The middle-classes want more jobs, 
more industries and a share of the .rising 
affluence evident in other parts of the 
country. And Ghani Khan, during his 
successive tenures as Union energy and 
railways minister, had showed that 
change is possible. 

The ascendance of R^iv Gandhi 
marked the political eclipse of Ghani 
Khan Chowdhury. Increasingly dispi- 
rited and cut off from New Delia’s power 
lines, the once effervescent Ghani Khan 
found the Marxists moving in quickly to 
smash his political base in his home 
district. Malda. After resigning from the 
programme implementation ministry last 
year, he went into near total seclusion in 
his luxurious ancestral palace in Malda. 
He once again surprised political obser- 
vers by bouncing back into active slate 
politics in the last week of 1987 with a 
declaration that he could not give up 
politics until the Left Front is routed. 
'*My chariot shall not stop.** he vowed 
and galloped into the pancbayat poll fray. 

Ghani Khan l^ck in action is as 
outrageous and irr'^c essible as ever. 
He is keeping the state's political circles 
both flabbergasted and entertained by 
his hyperbole. In one hi^y inflamma- 
tory speech, Ghani Khan urged Con- 
gress(i) workers to take up sten-gims 
against the Marxist thugs throttling 
democracy and trampling on fun- 
damental i^ts. 

But most wonisome for Das Munshi 
is the fret that Ghani Khan's meetinjgs in 
the districts of Nadia. South 24- 
Parganas and Midnapore are attracting 
huge aowds. 

Moreover, sevexal state Congress(l) 
leaders including Somen Mitra. Bhola- 
nath Sen, Abdul Mannan and MamaU 
Banexjee. have gravitated towards this 
maverick leader. 

Das Munshi’s brave repudiations can- 
not however detract from the fact that 
developments in the West Bengal Con- 
gressO) are fast leaving him within an 
isolated shadow. 

And as for West Bengal. Congress- 
men. they are laced with an unenviable 
choice: Das Munshi or Ghani Khan. 
Neither promises a way out of the 
political woods. 


The cosmic 
riddle 

Renowned astrophysicists 
meet to discuss problems on 
cosmology at Goa 

They were oblivious of 
the surf, sand and the 
sea. Rather, it was space 
and its mysterious 
mechanisms which kept 
the group of LSO scien- 
tists from 18 different 
countries occupied during their week- 
long stay in the tourists' paradise. Goa. 

At the International Conference on Gra- 
vitation and Cosmology, perhaps the 
most notable presence was tliat of Sir 
Fred Hoyle, renowned astrophysicist, 
who has challenged the Big Rang theory. 

Most astronom- 
ers believe that the 
universe was 
formed after 
gigantic expk)sion— 
the Big Bang— ■ 
which alone could 
overcome the enor- 
mous gravitational 
force which held 
together the pri- 
mordial iiuitter. But 
Hoyle demurs. 

‘■'ITiere is very little 
evidence to prove 
the Big Bang theo^.” he says. 
Hoyle h^ propounded his o'vn steady 
state theory: the super-clusters' of gala- 
xies were formed out of white holes— 
mini big bangs— and the presence of 
bilfidns of wlute holes account for the 
’ cosmic microwave radiation cited as 
-evidence of the Big Bang. 

The delegates at the conference also 
discussed the application of Einstein's* 
theory of relativity to astrophysical 
situations. 'Ashtekar's new variables', 
by Abhay Ashtekar of the Syracuse 
University. USA, is considered to be a 
major breakthrough as scientists hope to 
ga^er more information about quasars, 
black holes and other phenomena with 
the help of Ashtekar's theory. The 
Cambridge University Press will be 
publislung a report on the proceedings of 
the conference. Meanwhile, the Indian 
astrophysics scenario too will gain a 
boost as iflans are afoot to construct a 
grid of powerfol radio telescopes on a 
30-sq.in. area near Pune by 1992. 

■OM de SOMM iTMIllli / fkMir 

41 



< 

o 




Of unfulfilled promises 


j The slow progress of the 
I foreigners' detection drive 
has earned the chief minister 
the ire of his party men 


Two years after IVafuOa 
Mahanta became chief 
minister, the euphoria of 
the mass upsurge which 
swept him to power is 
wearing thin, ironically, 
the very issue which the 
students of Assam had fought for six 
years appears to have boomeranged on 
the student leader-tumed'Chief minis- 
ter. Mahanta and his band of revolution- 
ary students had promised the electo- 
rate that illegal immigrants would be 


z 

< 

CO 


task of detecting foreigners who had 
' settled in the state between 1966 and 
1971 has been equally dismal, llrough 
2,06,917 cases have been investigated 
by the police, only 2,542 persons were 
identified as ‘aliens’. This, despite the 
fact that the AGP government recruited 
about 1,500 constables and 500 sub- 
inspectors in June 1987 for the task. 
They have been split up into 500 task 
forces. 

The chief minister, of course, cites 
; the inadequacy of detection personnel 
I and the Centre’s ’’procrastination” in 
I amending the Illegal Migrants (Deter- 
mination by Tribunals) Act, 1983, as 
j reasons for the slow progress made by 
j the task forces. The propo^ amend- 
j ment, which was tabled in the last 
I session of the Lok Sabha, has been the 
I sulqect of much heated debate. The 



Prafulla Mahanta (right) addrMMS taakforca ofllfara at Guwahatl: poor parformanca 


detected and deported. But the Asom 
Gana Parishad (AGP) government has 
been able to identify only 276 ’aliens' in 
24 months. The refrain today is that 
Mahanta is betraying his partymen, 
particularly the students . 

The police have investigated 62,097 
cases of illegal inigrants who came in the 
post-1971 perM and 20,000 cases ate 
still pending with the <fistrict and sub- 
divisional level screening committees. 
The 12 tribunals set up to look into such 
cases are saddled with a backlog of 
8.020 cases. TiU 30 November, 1987, 
only 276 persons were declared to be 
illegal migrants. 

'The govemment's performance in the 


Opposition feels that if the Act is 
amended to bestow on the suspect the 
onus of proving his bona fries, it would 
lead to harassment of innocent citizens 
by the police. 

As it is, the United Minorities Front 
(UMF) and the Congress (1) have 
alleged that the task forces, under the 
pretext of ouryii^ out investigations, 
harass genuine citizens. 

The home minister, Bhrigu Phukan, 
however, denies the allegations of 
h^sment Say8>s:"*'Our ^t against 
Jhe illsgal pret^mce of foreigners is 
noCiitoIMJpatriotisiiv 




The way to 
dusty death 


Varitdarajan Mudaliar, the 
king of the underworld, 
passes away leaving behind a 
smashed empire 



The funeral was sche- 
duled for the evening of 
Sunday, 3 January, but as 
the faithfuls did not turn 
up in their thousands, as 
had been expected, the 
funeral was prepuned to 
two in the afternoon and by 4 pm it was 
all over. The don, Varadarajan Mudaliar, 
was consigned to the flames of the 
funeral pyre lit by his sons. It was the 
end of a ruthless career, which towards 
the end was already battered and 
bruised by the no-nonsense combine of 
Bombay's former commissioner of 
police, Julio Ribeiro. and the deputy 
commissioner, Y.C. Pawar. 

Alongwith Haji Mastan and Karim 
Lala, Varadarajan formed the fearful 
ruling triumvirate of Bombay’s under- 
world from the Fifties to the Seventies. 
But the late Seventies and Eighties saw 
the young lieutenants of these dons 
branch out on their own and form 
splinter groups; so hot-headed and imm- 
ature were they that' they killed each 
other in a fratricidal battle for suprema- 
cy. Mario Puzo might as weU have 
written his bestseUer on the Sicilian 
Mafia sitting in Bombay. 

Varadanyan's death in Madras follow- 
ing three heart attacks reflects the fact 


42 


tUMMY 17-43 JMHiWy 1913 






N’f:ws 



Hug« crowds waftforsgllmpssof (Inssl) 
Varadarsian Mudallar for ths last tlm# 

that the don lost the battle a>?ainsl the 
law. /\t tlie end of his life he was on the 
run, and fiitally was forced to quit 
Bombay. Police sources feel that the 
Varada empire no longer exists. Accord- 
ing to them, 60 per cent of the illicit 
liquor business run by him was smashed. 

Varadarajan's three lieutenants. 
Soma, Khajfi and 'I'ilu, are now said to be 
feeling shaky and on the run because 
there are several cases against them. It 
is learnt that the police were waiting at 
the funeral to nab them in case they 
turned up. In this context the role of Haji 
Mastan is significant. It is said that he 
has assured Varadarajan’s men that he is 
there to help them. 

Mastan flew to Madras to bring Vara- 
darajan's body back to Bombay in a 
chartered Indian Airlines plane. Some 
say it cost about Ks 4 lakhs. Said 
Mastan, “This is nothing. If each follow- 
er gave a thousand rupees, money is no 
problem. " Asked why he went to Mad- 
ras to bring back Varada’s body, Mastan 
said, ’’Why not, he was like a family 
friend. My children walked into his 
house and his into mine. And what is 
more, we started our careers together 
in the docks as coolies. " 

From a humble, hardworking coolie, 
Varadarajan rose to dizzy heights, con- 
trolling thefts worth crores of rupees in 
the docks, running a flourishing bootleg- 
ging business and a huge smuggling 
network. He was ruthless with those 
who dared to cross his path, sometimes 
even cutting off their legs, it is alleged. 

In Madras in the last two years, 
Varadarajan financed a movie Nayakan 
on his Kfe. Kamalahasan played the role 
of Varadarajan. And the screen don was 
present at ^dras Airport to pay his last 
respects to Varada. 

Okta lam t Bombay 


A victory for Fernandes 


Party stalwarts cross swords 
over the appointment of 
NSUI chief 

The power struggle with- 
in the National Students 
Union of India (NSUI), a 
frcmtal organisation of 
AU-lndia Congress Com- 
mittee (AICC-1), reached 
a peak recently when 
some of most prominent leaders of 
the Cons^essd) crossed swords over 
the nomination of the president for the 
NSUI. The surprise announcement on 6 
January that Manish Tiwari had replaced 
the NSUI chief Mukul Wasanik, MP 
enraged quite a few leaders, including 
the Union minister for civil aviation. 


'ITie strongman of Delhi politics, H. K. L. 
Bhagat, wanted the NSUI vicc-presklent 
Juber Khan to sr.rceed as the organisa- 
tion’s chief and was naturally upset about 
Fernandes’ decision. However, Fer- 
nandes' move of bringing in Tiwari was 
meticulously planned out by the Karna- 
taka PCC(I) chief. Fearing that he would 
be accused of cornering important posi- 
tions for hi.> men- -one of whom, Guru- 
das Knmat, was recently appointed chief 
of the Youth Congress(l)— he went 
about gathering support for 'I'lwari. And 
it was only after he had 'got the support 
of Congress(I) stalwarts like P. Shiv 
Sliankar, Satish Sharma, Dinesh Singh, 
Bhagwatjha Azad. 

Meanwhile, others like former Youth 
Congress(l) chief, Anand Slianna, and 
general secretary, Pawan Bansal. joined 
hands with Tytler and Bhagat to oppose 
the move to make Tiwari the head of the 



(From I to r) Oscar Ftrnandes, Manish Tiwari and Jagdish Tytler: occupying centrsstaga 


Jagdish Tyt^. The minister, who had 
been lobbying for the appointment of 
Ajay Mak^ nephew of the late Lalit 
Maken, rushed to the AICC(I) office at 
24, Akbar Road. There he met Oscar 
Fernandes, the chief of the Karnataka 
PCC(I) who is responsible for the 
change in the NSUI hierarchy. Fer- 
nandes aigued that as Maken had moved 
away from student poGtics and was now 
invdved wiffi trade unions, he would not 
have been a ri^ choice for the post 
Moreover, he pointed out that Tiwari 
was stifl a student of the law faculty at 
Delhi University. 

Tytler was not the only one to opp^e 
Thvari's appemtment as the NSUI diief. 


NSUI. 'fhey even approached the Prime 
Minister to block Tiwari’s appointment. 

Manish Tiwari, who is the only stu- 
dent to become president of the orga- 
nisation during the last decade, besides 
Rangarajan Kumaramangalam, is prepar- 
ing to launch a massive students move- 
ment in all Opposition-ruled states like 
West Bengal, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh 
and Karnataka. 

The newly-appointed NSUI chief was 
even summoned by the Prime Minister 
to discuss students’ problems. With this 
act, Oscar Fernandes’ critics have been 
silenced once again, and the PCC(I) 
chief has scored yet another victory. 
Rajiv ShuMi/ARaiv MRU 


! 


tIMOAV 17-^ JMMJkiy i« 


43 


New theory, old Keeping the 

phenomenon lidon riots 


New light is thrown on the 
ma^s ‘suicide’ of birds at 
Jatinga 

lilt* phenomenon is bizar- 
re. Every October, 
thousands of birds come 
to the tiny village of 
Jatinga in Assam. 'I'he 
\illagers place brightly lit 
pt'tromax lamps on the 
ground atler dark and the birds dive 
down into the lamps and plunge to their 
death. What m;ikes the birds do this? A 
lemming-like deathwish? A deep-rooted 
desire tb commit suicide? For some 


“The birds have fomied an instinctive 
assmiation with fog in their search for 
fo(Kl. 'i'owards the end of the breeding 
season, the days become increasingly 
slujrter. This affects the hormonal ba- 
latK'e. causing the birds to feed avidly 
and makes them more restless, 'lliis 
(process) generally occurs at night.” 

According to Phukan, the birds ven- 
ture out on foggy, moonless nights, lose 
their bearings and arc instinctively 
drawn towards any form of light. At this 
stage, the wily villagers appear, lure 
them with petromaxes and hammer 
them to death. 

In fact, says Phukan. the birds long to 
escape after they have been lured by the 
bright lights. If they are not clubbed to 
death, they happily fly off and return to 


The Ahmedabad Police have 
refurbished their sagging 
image during the last year 

For the citizens of Ahme- 
dabad. who witnessed 
bkxxly communal riots at 
the slightest provocation 
during 1985 and 1986, the 
year gone by provided a 
welcome relief. Though 
1987 started ominously when on 4 
January, communal clashes broke out on 
the eve of the municipa) elections, it was 
quickly brought under control by the 
newly-appointed police commissioner, 
S. N. Sinha. 

The police force, under the direction 
of Sinha, perhaps for the first time 
displayed that it was in control by 
restoring normalcy within a few hours of 
the communal riots. The police acted 
swiftly once again on 30 January and 14 
February when Ahmedabad was rocked 
by violence. But the acid test for Sinha 
was the rath yatra held on 28 June, an 
occasion traditionally used by the fim- 
damentalists to strike. As the day drew 
closer, the tension amoi^ the citizens 
was palpable. With the poke officials too 
threatening to go on strike if their 
demands for hi^r wages were not 
met, yet another outburst of violence 
seemed to be inevitable. 

But for a change, the Amarsinh 
Chaudhary reggne acted swiftly aond 
conceded the police officers' demands, 
who later dropped their plan of an 
jodefinite strike. An elabmte pofice 
bandobast was organi^ on the D-day 
with hundreds of polioemen and para- 
military troops deployed all akmg the 
route of the yatra. Mobile watditowers 
were station^ at strategic points and 
149-feet-high snorkel laddm were used 
so that offidals oouKd keep an eye on 
potential trouble-makers. Two hdScop- 
ters did the rounds of the dty and State 
Reserve Police men were posted on 
rooftops to keep a dose watch on the 
procession. The entire 12-hour event 
wais videotaped and poto officials 
sta^ ghied to ckMe-drcuit TVs moni- 
todng the goings-on. The rath yatra 
passed off pesoeftdly. But will the 
Ahmedabad FPte be aUe to keep up 
the good work in 1988 too?- 



eoms ofUio bM ipeelM wlileli ooiMto Jallnoo: 
avsmahmobrMd 

years now, ornithologists the world over 
have por'*ered this phenomenon and 
searched for explanations. 

Now, a young forest officer, H.P. 
Phukan. claims to have solved the mys- 
tery. Phukan spent three years conduct- 
ing an on-the-spot study of the phe- 
nomenon (1981-83) and has'just pub- 
lished his conclusions {Death at jatinga, 
published by the forest department. 
Assam government). According to Phu- 
kan, the suicide and deathwish theories 
are just so much bunk. The birds have 
no desire to die. Rather, they are lured 
and trapped by the local vUiagers who 
then club them to death and eat them. 

I Phukan points out that this phe- 
nomenon occurs for three months every 
year (August to October) when migra- 
tory birds are in the area, and Jatinga is 
covered by a thick fog. Says Phukan, 


their natural environments the following 
morning. But of course, it is in the 
villagers’ interests to see that this 
doesn't happen because the birds ac- 
quire a gastronomic value once they are 
killed. 

Phukan feels that the so-called Jatinga 
bird enigma is far more serious than it 
might appear at first. In just one of the 
seasons he studied, nearly 17,000 birds 
were killed by the villagers. The birds 
were drawn from 32 species (among 
them, the hooded pitta, the three-toed 
forest kingfisher, the tiger bittern, ,the 
cottftn teal, the bronze drongo) and most 
were not migrants, but **juveniles be- 
longing to the current year's brood". 
Ob '/ioi^ly, such vmim tilling can hard- 
ly be for the ecologies balance. 






NKWS 


Ershad’s show of strength 


The President announces 
elections in spite of the 
Opposition 's objections 



Hopeful members of the 
Bangladesh Opposition 
are saying that this is the 
lull before a storm. 
Cynics feel that this may 
be a lull, but the storm 
that IS expected will be 
nothing more than a dusty whirlwind. 
President Ershad who took his own 
Cabinet by sur()rise when he suddenly 
dissolved the Parliament, has now de- 
clared that fresh parliamentary elections 
will be held' on 28 February. For the 
Opposition the only way to respond is to 
•eiterate their determination to boycott 
he elections. But whether the boycott 
ivill produce the change of government 
hat the Opposition wants remains to be 


Faced with the biggest concerted 
effort to topple him from power, Ershad 
has bi.*en astute enough to follow a 
strategy of alternate appeasement and 


coercion. He has called out the police 
and the paramilitary, clamped down on 
the Opposition’s activities with ruthless 
violence, and finally declared a state of 
emergency and imposed media cen- 
sorship to retain control. On the other 
hand, he has repeatedly offered to hold 
fresh and fair elections, to constitute an 
election commission acceptable to all, 
and even to resign from his position as 
chief of the Jatiya Party. 

According to some sources, the policy 
of conciliation is being promoted and 
encouraged by the US Ambassador in 
Dhaka. Tbere have been rumblings of 
discontent from certain government 
quarters against such interference by 
another country in the internal affairs of 
Bangladesh. 

However, the Opposition so far has 
not succumbed to any of the lures held 
out by the Ershad regime. Perhaps that 
is why the President has used the last 
resort of the dictator. He has hauled out 
the bugbear of the hostile neighbour 
plotting to make trouble for Bangladesh. 
At a New Year's day meeting with Jatiya 
Party workers and supporters. Ersliad 
declared that the Dhalm Siege program* 


Khaltda Zl« (Ivfl) wul 8h«llih HmIm Wotd: common goal 



me was a conspiracy designed to ne- 
cessitate the moving of the army from 
the Ctiittagong Hill Trarth into other 
areas. This, he said, would allow the 
Chakma rebels greater latitude to move 
around. The Chakmas are allegedly 
given material support by the Govern- 
ment of India. 

Perhaps as a counter to tins looming 
threat of Indian machinations, Ershad 
also told his party workers -that he had 
the full support of the Arab countries. 
They were all willing to help bring about 
a political rapprrxrhement. Ershad has 
also made certain efforts to n(>nnalise 
the situation within the country. All 
universities are expected to open by 14 
January and 20 January has been 
announced as the date for filing nomina- 
tions. Also, 586 civilian administrators 
have been appointed to conduct the 
coming elections-— the fourth one in l.T 
years. 

The Opposition does not have atiy 
new technique up their sleeve to deal 
with this show of strength and confi- 
dence. All three alliances have repeated- 
ly declared their intention to boycott the 
polls, and they have called for countr>»- 
wide strikes around the time of filing the 
nominations. I'he two Begums have also . 
kept up their unprecedented show of ' 
unity. They met for the third lime at the I 
Dhanmondi residence of the late Sheikh I 
Mujibur Rahman, to articulate their fu- 
ture plans. 

Primarily, however, the Opposition is 
depending on popular support- -from 
students, workers, peasants, and cultu- 
ral organisations — to make a success of 
their efforts to topple Ershad from 
power. But even if the existing Opposi- 
tion parties unite in boycotting the 
elections, the volatile political situation 
in Bangladesh can easily generate any 
number of mushrexjm parties who will 
participate in the polls just for self- 
aggrandisement. They wiD give Ershad 
the facade of a democratically conducted 
election. 

What then will hapijen to the move- 
ment to oust Ershad, and restore demo- 
cracy to troubled Bangladesh? Status 
QUO could well continue if Ershad returns 
to power with a supposed pe<>ple’s 
mandate. Or, a new figure could emerge 
from behind the scenes and stagt* yet 
another coup. Or, there could be unpre- 
cedented arrangements of power- 
sharing between the Opposition and the 
present government. But while these 
are the imponderables, one fact remains 
undeniable. The colossal loss of seven 
hundred crore dollars’ worth of property 
and resources has left Bangladesh with a 
new record of poverty. 

Alamglr NasMbi/IMMlrv 


45 



PERSONALITY 


The Ramanand Sagar of tl 


iToni medicine lo piihlisluni^ to llw pioiliidion oj video lilpis. Dr .1. K Jain hus route a In ^ 


Videotape No 1: The theme souff 
provides the unifying effect in a 61m 
comprising shots of abysmal poverty, 
deep-rooted corruption and decadent 
pohtics. Posters are used extensively to 
dash images''ofa country that is heading 
towards sure disaster. There are scenes 
6om Delhi's red-light areas juxtaposed 
against a Bve-star hotel. A sequence 
shows top secret dies being received by 
a black-gloved hand dutching currency 
notes. Hundreds of vultures gnaw away 
at a carcass. At the end of it all, a huge 
explosion depicting a nudear holocaust. 
And then the haunting song again : ' Azad 
hokar auf bhi kaid ho gayee” 

Videotape No 2: The message begins 
unfolding this time throu^ animated 
drawings of the Bofors howitzer gun. 
Instead of ammunition being used to 6re 
the weapon, soldiers dimb up the nozzle 
and the trigger is pulled. There is an 
explosion, the lines of the drawing 
disintegrate on the screen and the gun 
with the soldiers inside it are wiped out 
The next shot shows heaps of human 
skulls and starving people with *'corrup- 
tion", *'kickbacks’\ "Fairfax’* written 
boldly across the screen. Who will save 
the country hvm all this, the narrator 
asks. To the accompaniment of music 
emerges a smiling, garlanded Ramjeth- 
malani. 

He is the answer to the perils of 80 
million people. He is India's newest 
poHtical Messiah. 

Videotape No 3: A huge chrysanthe- 
mum is the symbol for the dowering of 
N. T. Rama Rao's charisma. After Devi 
Lai’s victory in Haryana, the ruling party 
has been uprooted from central India. 
Between sequences showing jubilution 
among the Opposition, the central 
theme of the 6bn comes through. Some- 
where in the battleheld of Haryana the 
two powerM allies meet on the cam- 
paign trail. The 61m ends with a ques- 
tion: would the people not have strug- 
gled against the repression of the Qm- 
gressfl) voluntarily? For the count's 
survival, the victorious duo^Devi Lai 
and NT. Rama Rao—are the only 
answer. 


Dr Jain in his studio: video messiah of 
the Opposition 

46 


or politicians like Devi Lal» 
V.P. Singh and Ajit Singh, the 
medicine to a quick cure for all 
propaganda problems is held 
by one man. He is Dr J.K. 
Jain, the video messiah. Dr Jain is a 
doctor with a difference: he diagnoses 
p()litical ailments in his clinic, Jain Studio, 
situated off Ring Road in Delhi. Devi Lai 
rode to victory in the 17 June 1987 
elections in Haryana, thanks largely to 
his video tapes. Some sequences of the 
Indian Express break-in were shown by 
Express editor to the Editors Guild of 
India to prove that no outsiders were 


hired to force their entry. The video 
coverage of Ram Jethmalani*s meeting in 
Fategarh came in handy to prove 
the lawyer had condemned the creation 
of Khalistan. Interestingly, this Surya 
owner-cum-BJP executive committee 
member has been going ahead with 
productions without undergoing formali- 
ties like acquiring a censorship certifi- 
cate firom the Censor Board. 

Dr Jain is only following in the foot- 
steps of the ruling party. The Congres- 
s(I) had first started electronic cam- 
paigning in 1984 by hiring a professional 
advertising agency to produce publicity 







Opposition 


tapes on Rajiv Gandhi and his party. The 
cue was picked up by Dr Jain, whose 
studio is rated to be the niost sophisti- 
cated of the 170 units registered with 
the ministry of information and broad- 
casting since 1983. In a bid to encourage 
software production in the private sec- 
tor, the government had liberalised im- 
port of equipment and Jain was among 
the first to receive the licence under the 
specialised category. At that time, Jain 
recalls, he was reeling under the mount- 
ing losses of running Sutya magazine (Rs 
one lakh a month) and decided to offset 
the financial strain by launching medical 


television in the country. 

But why medical tele\ision? “1 real- 
ised that video was the technology of 
tomorrow and wanted to balance the 
losses of one project into another,’* he 
says. 'Diough he had made forays into 
the media world. Dr Jain was better 
known as a professional physician. The 
government recognised his project to 
manufacture state-of-the-art films on 
medicine. Today, Jain offers over 100 
titles of medical ^ms. Subscribers to his 
video service include ministries, medical 
colleges, hospitals and other govern- 
ment departments. One such ^ was 


shown during a conference on neu-natal 
health in Lahore recently and won the 
praise of Pakistan President Zia-ul-Haq, 
Jain is now hoping to win intema'ional 
awards for films like this one and is 
working on a proposal to set up 100 
video classrooms all over the country for 
promoting medical education. 

With initial imports worth Ks oo lakhs, 
the Surya owner decided tr) set up a 
studio in the AW/M' township, adjoininK 
Delhi. It was while discussing the medic- 
al television project w*ith liis mentor 
Rajmata Scindia. that the offer of setting 
up shop on Scindia property in Delhi 



DrJainitoriytolaiviiigin 

Ihefooiitepioftliening 

party.’nwCongrMiCDIiMi 

1II1I MClnHIIC 


SdVillilillg 4g0IICy 


came up. 'ITic 32 acres of prized land 
.located off King Road had been used by 
the Scindia family for their potten' 
business decades ago. Todty, all that 
remains on the land are two bungalows 
for the Rajmata and her daughter Vasiin- 
dhara. Jain renovated one of the unused 
buildings adjoining Scindia Villa for the 
studio. Says the surgeon: “Ivven wiien 
the Rajmata told me I could use the land, 

I asked her to be sure of her decision 
and check with her lawyers. I knew 
there would be some elements who 
would not be happy with this arrange- 
ment.” 

Eyebrows were raised about the stu- 
dios springing up in Scindia's land but Dr 
Jain’s close links with the BJP were 
well-known. Despite rumours o( a grow- 
ing antagonism between Jain and L.K. 
Advani over the property transaction. 
Jain has been able to weather criticism 
from the party that he was a liaison man 
far the Rajmata and had managed to set 
up his video studio, thanks to her 
b^volence. 


47 



PERSONALITY 



T he response to Jain’s medical televi- 
sion programme was encouraging- 
only Doordarshan refused to have any- 
thing to do with him. apparently for 
political reasons. More than one set of 
proposals was sent by him to Mandi 
House to sponsor a series of medical 
films but there were no takers. Rumour 
has it that Jain’s films w'erc found 
unsuitable for Doordarslian because of 
political reasons. “I had to keep the devil 
busy,” explained Jain and says lie was 
forced to enter the video network sub- 
sequently. Jain Studio became a partly 
rented house, and among other prog- 
rammes the Reliance Cup I’review was 
produced in hi.s studio. It was a coinci- 
dence that Dr Jain diversified into mak- 
ing political films. His first opportunity 
came in early 1987 during the Haryana 
elections. Thousands of copies of 
videotapes of Devi U1 campaigning 
were copied from the master tape pro- 
duced by Jain and sold for Ks 290 each 
before Haryana went to the polls. At the 
end of the electronic campaign Devi Lai 
claimed that it was his Vijayarath (fitted 
with 18 rv sets) and video films that 
were more popular than him. Mass 
distribution and screening of the films 
was a success. After the elections, the 
press reixirted that Dr Jain had bagged a 
contract for making a series of video 
films on development and culture of the v 
state. This has been denied by Jain, w'lo^ 
says that "there has been no further 
business between the chief minister and 
me”. After the Haryana experiment 
there were several other politicians 



willing to hire the services of a profes- 
sional video programmer for publicity. 


It is not known how many such 
political video films are being made and 
who the audience will finally be. But 
even after the Lok Dal’s victory Jain’s 
crew has been noticed filming what 
would seem evidence on tape for the 
Opposition parties. When Indian Ex- 
press workers forcibly entered the Ex- 
press office in November 1987 almost 30 
tapes of footage was filmed by Jain. 
Before that, on 29 October, his team 
was conspicuously filming the birthday 
celebrations of gt^man Chandra Swaini 
in South Extension. Most surprising are 
the tapes being presently edited in the 
studio showing the fiery Ram Jfthmalani 
in his newfound political role. The films 
have been ck veriy interwoven with file 
febtage of riots, deaths and scandals. 

' ? 4^brding to . Dr Jain, the shift to 
I fVodim|[^NA^ films was simply to 
I 8urv^?'ii« business in which he has 


invested over Rs one crore. “Due to 
political reasons the films I produce are 
not selected by Doordarshan. I had to do 
sometl^ so that I would not end ^ a 
fiaihire in this medium.” However, it is 
comments like this one that has made 
others involved in software production 
atege that Dr Jain is misusing the facility 
for which the Government of India 
originally issued him an import licence. 

As a safeguard against any penalties, 
Jain floated an advertising outfit, Mala 
Publicity, which he describes as a “sister 
concern”. In the arrangement worked 
out, Jain Studios produces the film for 
the client-politician which is marketed by 
the in-house agency. ”I did not want to 
get into any legal hassles and decided to 
act as the pr^uction house for these 
films. Otherwise, I would have been 
hanged for violations, ” reasoned Jain. An 
easy way out, felt Bikram Sinidi, the 
chainnan of the Censor Board, when 
contacted in Bombay, but warned that if 
a complaint comes to them from any 
state government they were in their 
right to impose a penalty. “Such films 
through clever interpolations and script 
can sometimes be anti-national. Exhibi- 
tion of such films without the censor's 
opinion might call for action.” During the 
1984 national elections, he said, the 
Congressd) and other parties which had 
used video electioneering had obtained 
the censors' clearance. Also, a recent 
fflm made on the life of RSS chief 
Balasaheb Deoras came to them for 
approval. As yet, neither the Lok Dal 
nor the Bhauat Mukti Morcha had 
approadied them for clearance. 

Oblivious of the mandatory censors’ 
sanction, Jain has continued to produce 
films. Tte IS-minute films made on Ram 
Jethmalani are rumoured to have been 
shown abroad. The impact of such a film 
in which Jethmalani is heard makipg 
unrealistic promises like solving the 
Punjab problem in ten days, etc would 
hardly be salutary. What use will the 
foota^ on the Indan Express strike and 
antics of Chandra Swami make? Accord- 
ing to Jain, such stories are being canned 
by his teams for use in 1& video 
inagazine progranmies--which he hopes 
to launch once the government pen^ 
private companies from distributing. 
Among others. Living Media is sche- 
duled to launch its video magazine 
Newstrack and Nari Hira is lik^ to 
follow suit, "lam a small fry among them 
but if the gate is opened to make video 
magazines then I am waking in the 
wings.” TQl such time the totage is 
avaiible for politicians to use. Once the 
elections are announced, the rush 
ainong Qpporition parties to the video 
doctor will begin. 
MIvSaifri/MsirMM 






48 



FOCUS 


S etB i ^ a new course 

The era of international conferences is over. Gurudas Kamat's new Youth 
Congress will eschew good manners and take the battle to the streets 


W hen a pilot appoints a 
plane hijacker to posi- 
tion of responsibility, 
the situation has to ^ 
extraordinary. And, it 
certainly is. considef^ that the only 
direct nominee of Prime Minister and 
Congress(I) president R^giv Gandhi for 
the post of Indian Youth Congress(I) 
general secretary was Bhola Pandey 
when the organisation secretariat was 
reconstituted on 21 December, 1987. 
Pandey, it may be recalled, had gatec- 
rashed into politics when he hijacked an 
Indian Airlines plane in 1978 to protest 
the arrest of In^a Gandhi by the Janata 
government. When Assembly elections 
were held in UP in June 1980, Saiqay 
Gandhi rewarded him with a ti^ct and 
became an MLA. In 1985, V.P. Sin^ 
put his foot down and refused Pandey a 
dcket because of the image problem. As 
image-building is no longer considered a 


Youth Congross offico, (inset) YC(I) president 
Qurudes Ksmet: a new role 


top priority with Rajiv Gandhi, Pandey is 
bat^ vrith a bang. 

Significantly, the aggressive (in his 
admirers' eyes, dynamic) Bhola Pandey 
has been given charge of two non- 
Congress(l)-ruled states, Haryana and 
Andhra Pradesh, along with Rajasthan 
and Delhi. Pandey says he is going to 
concentrate on Haryana and Andhra 
where “a non-violent fight will be put up 
against Devi Lai's goondaism and N.T. 
Rama Kaos corruption”. What this fight 



will be like can be anybody's guess. 

Clearly, the reorganisation of the 
Youth Congress has been effected keep- 
ing in mind the present political situation 
in the country and the increasing pro- 
>^ity to the next parliamentary elec- 
tions. llie changes seem to have been 
aimed at transforming the Youth Con- 
gress(I) from a conference-holding orga- 
nisation into a fighting body. As a former 
Youth Congress(I) president puts it. 
"The realisation has come that the 
well-behaved, l£nglish-speaking func- 
tionaries with good images are no longer 
required and the organisation needs to 
acquire some muscle.” Therefore, it is 
no surprise that the newly-appointed 
Youth Congress(I) chief Gurudas Karnat 
sent a letter on 24 December. 1987 to 
all district unit presidents asking for a list 
of *25 “active” Youth Congress workers 
with their names and addresses for 
every piilling booth in their respective 
areas. The deadline for sending in the 
names is March 1988. It is obvious that 
the organisation is gearing up to play a 


big role in the coming elections. The 
days of the Sanjay Brigade are back as 
are Sanjay loyalists like Bhola Pandey. 

Even Gurudas Kamat’s appointment 
on 12 October, 1987, in place of the 
flamboyant Anand Shamia had given 
enough indication about the present 
style of thinking at the highest level in 
the party.. After the launching of the 
Soci^st Forum proved to be a damp 
squib, Rajiv Gandhi has been distancing 
himself from the Left lobby in the party 
and the Administration. Gopi Arora’s 
sudden exit from the Irime Minister's 
secretariat being the latest example. It 
was quite welUlmoym that Anand Shar- 
ma had a soft corner for the Socialist 
Bloc countries and was pronouncedly 
left-of'centre in the typical Congress 
fashion. Kamat, an arch-opponent of 
Sharma, was brou^t in to correct the 
present line of thinking as he is not 
enamoured by Leftist rhetoric. Trained 
by Rajni Patel in his initial years in 
politics, Kamat was dose to Sharad 
Pawar for a brief while. Later, he moved 
towards Arun Nehru, but shifted his 
allegiance in time. Today, he is a vocifer- 
ous critic of V.P. Singh and Arun Nehru 
and continues to be a darling of the 
Bombay rich. 

Yet, the go^ wiU be tough for 
Kamat. To begin with, he took more 
than two months to constitute his team. 
His claim that aU the names which were 
.finally announced were in his original list 
notwithstanding, it is weU-known in 
Cong^essCO cirdes that he had to submit 
two fists to Rajiv Gandhi during the past i 
two months and had to opt for a 
compromise list in the end. He explained 
the delay saying that as he had never 
worked in the Youth Congress(l) at the 
national level and was involved in its 
activities only as its Maharashtra state 
unit president (that too till two years ago 
when he resigned in protest against 
Anand Sharma's handling of the Moscow 
Youth Festival where the Youth Con^ 
gross delegates' behaviour left much to 
be desired),. he did not know the orga- 
nisation's active leaders in other states 
and had to first familiarise himself with 
who was capable of doing what 

K amat has come a long way fi:om his 
days as the Maharashtra state unit 
president. His appointment as the Youth 
Congress(I) chief was opposed among 
others by Arun Singh. K.K. Tewari, ^ 
Murli Deora and the former YC(I) pre^d- 
denhAnand Sharma. Even after he took 
over, Kamat had to cross 'Swords with 
Oscar Fernandes, the AlCC(l) geiv^rdf 
secretary in charge of fixmt organiaa* 
tions. While Femmes wanted all those 
under 35 years of age to be retained in 
the YC(1) organisation, Kamat insisted 



Bhols PaiMley : a big Jump 


that he be given a free hand to pick his 
own team. In the fist he sent to the 
party president, Rajiv Gandhi, for 
approv^ Kamat had suggested the 
names of Mukul Wasnik, Sarfraz Ahmed 
and Praveer Bagchi as general secretar- 
ies while Sudha Jacob's name was sug- 
gested as joint secretary. However, 
Mukul Washfic was not considered at all, 
Praveer Bagdii was appointed a joint 
secretary and Sudha Jacob was given the 
post of general secretary (Sudha Jocob, 
daughter of the late C,M. Stephei^is 
said to have received the support of V. 
George, the powerful private secretary 
to the Prime Minister, Rajiv Gancttii). 

Thou^ Kamat denies ft vebemeody, 
Youth CoogeessG) sources reveal that 
former YCG) pnaadent and presently 
CoogressQ) Se va Dai dMTariq Anwar 
played a prominent rote in die reorgs* 
niaatkm process and Kaniat leited on h^ 
advice.lt is no wonder that four of An-* 
war's men found a place in the final M. 


*Tli> iteiiM o n liii M is a S 

tht wiStaiHNdl) 


w loipBre 


YsaSSw 


They are Sarfraz Ahmed, M.P. Haripra- 
sad and B. K. Harforaaad (both general 
secretaries), Praveer Bagdu and Vindd 
Narain (both joint secretaries), Bagchi 
was removed along with Hasan Ahmed 
and K. K. Sharma from the YC(D 
secretariat when Anand Sharma took 
over as president ‘They are not Tatiq 
Anwar's men," says Kamat "You see, 
as al these people have been active in 
the organisation for a kmg time, so 
people dub them either as Anwar's or 
Ghidam Nabi Azad's men." Kamat also 
takes pride In the fact that he has 
retained five members of Anand Shar- 
ma's team whfie "Anand Sharma had 
changed even the ofifoe staff in just 
half-an-hour of his taking over as the 
YC(D president" These five are: Jag- 
nieet Singh Brar, who condmies as 
general secretary, Sudha Jacob, Atar 
Smidi Tdcas, P. Ananda Kumar and 
Ganesh Shan^ Pande. 

If Kamat has retained them, it is not 
due to any gesture of goodwill towards 
Anand Sharma but because none of them 
were really very dose to the former 
YC(D president AO had got their dout 
from some senior Congressman or die 
other. Jagmeet Singh Brar, for example 
is dose to Daibara Singh and had tdeen a 
very active part in the and-Zafl Singh 

nwnp ai fl n. 

The "no one over 35" dictat has 
raised eyebrows. When questioned ab- 
out this, Kamat says that the datel of 
birth of each office-bearer was ascer- 
tained on the basis of authentic docu- 
ments. "When we removed Bhu- 
baneshwar Kafita and Suresh Pbdiori for 
being over 35, how could 1 chose 
somebody who is overage," Kaffiat 
asked. But ft seems that, let atene 
aaoertain his offioe-bearers' ages on the 
basis of "authentic documents", Kmnat 
has not even cared to read the Xok 
Sabha Who's Who’ which contains his 
own bfogr^hical details as welL Accord- 
ing to then^'sWhd, Radhakant D|gd, 
who has been appointed general- 
secretary by Kamat, was born on July, 
1952, and had obvioiily crossed the age 
limft of 35 years when Kamat made his 
sdectioa Sources in the Youth Cogress 
(D say that even B. K. Hari Pnaad and 
iUiola Pandey are over 35 yean of age. 
There are otfier anomalies, too: kniior- 
tant sUftes Itee Madlqfs Ptadedi, Go- 
jvat«idIfa|intlinilin«beaileftHnnp> 
resaited wide atilM fte Uttv Rradeab 
lave got ttree noniiiees. EveaPkamer 
Begchi. who bee epent moit of Us tina 
UIMU, las hew bnM#t in from up 
quota. Only time wataUfKansPstaan 
m be sble to feed da Toudi Congwee 
(D into ton^ar faetdee. 



BUSINiSS 


Q ADVERTISING ^ 

W htfs nu me ro uno? 

While Untas laid ddims to have b&:ome the largest advertising agency in 1987, HTA is 
not quite prepared to relinquish its right to the top spot 


L intas India thought it had at last 
done it: dislodged the leader of the 
past 55 years. It was a nedc and 
neck race through 1987 which virtually 
eiKied in a photo-finish invotvmg the two 
giants of Indian advertisiiig: Hindustan 
Thoiiq>aon Associates (HTA) and Lin- 
tas. Wule HTA daimed a^^gate biD- 
ings worth Rs 65 crores, Lintas claimed 
Rs 60 crores. And by what turned out to 
be a different system of accounting, 
Lintas laid claims to have become India’s 
number one advertising agency, only to 
send rifles through ^ Rs 700-crore 
advertising industry. 

The reason for the controversy 
appears to have been the accounting 
system adopted by Lintas. The agency 
excluded its research division, Pathfin- 
ders, while preparing its accounts be- 
cause, accorteg to its executives, it is 
not part of its advertising business. 
HTA, on the other hand, included the 
tunings of its flourishing research divi- 
sion, Indian Market Research Bureau 
(IMRB), because, as Mike Khanna, 
president and managing director, says, 
‘'We have always been doing this. Be- 
sides, it is a division of HTA and where 
win we put its revenue if not in HTA’s 
account? Lintas is making its own rules 
because it does not suit it to indude 
Patfakiders which has a very low re- 


The whole controversy erupted 
when, on 31 December, Lintas put out a 
press release dakning to be the number 
one advertising asency in India, after it 
realised that its capitafaed billings were 
more than die figure of Rs 52 crores 
which was stated to be HTA's capital- 
ised binings( as pifiiliahed by 7^ 
jnc Titties on 30 December and not 
denied by HTA.) 

"Vfe did not expect to overtake HTA 
in 1987,” says Sumit Roy, the public 
retatxns executive of Untas. ”Weknew 
it woidd happen in 1988, but when our 
daef executive Alyque Padamaee looked 
at the iocounts we were p repari n g fiir 
our auditors, we reafised diat we were 
more dian the figure declared by HTA.” 

Butthereisabitich. HTA's accounting 
year ended on 30 Jime, 1987, and the 


figm of Rs 52 crores was for that 
period. Its annual report released in 
August 1987 showed revenue earnings 
of Rs 7,73,55,8^2 for the year ended 30 
June, 1987, against Rs 6,49,41,479 for 
the year ended 30 June, 1986. When 
Lintas announced on 31 December that 
it had overtaken HTA. the latter 
prompdydi^tTOveditthe nextdaywhen 
it relea^ its six-monthly unaudited 
accounts for the year ended 31 Decem- 
ber, 1987. (This is mandatory for all 
pub^ limited companies.) 

Said the press note issued by HTA: 
“Hindustan Thompson, India’s number 
one advertising agency, closes the 
calendar year 1987 with a capitalised 
billing of over Rs 65 crores.” And Mike 
Khanna says that “although growth in 
the advertising industry has slowed 
down” he was confident that HTA 
would “perform well in the new year”. 

While the controversy rufOed many 
feathers, it became ob ious that the 


Tht Untas tamlly: numbar unj 


secret to the number one position 
perhaps lay in juggling around with 
accounts. As Roy of Lintas said, “For 
years we were aware that the method of 
capitalised billings varied from agency to 
agency. Some showed their interest as 
earnings which we never did. So our 
revenue was always lower.” Since Lin- 
tas, being a private company, does not 
make its balance-sheet available for 
scrutiny, one has to take its word on 
thift According to Lintas, its revenue 
was Rs 9 crores in 1987 against HTA’s 
Rs 8.3 crores. To that extent, Lintas 
seemed justified in assimnng that they 
had overtaken advertising’s leader for 
over 55 ytm. 

Says R^it Chib, manai^ director of 
Market Research and Advisory Services 
and a former HTA-IMRB executive, 
“The controversy over research bill- 
ings is meaningless. After all, when 
computing the research billings, they are 
converted into equivalent advertising 





billings.’' 

Not wanting to sour relations with 
HTA, Lintas tried to put the lid on the 
controversy with yet another statement 
issued by Alyque Padamsee on 6 January 
which s^: **Since HTA has come up 
with a new figure of Rs 65 crores which 
includes IMRB's maiket research bill- 
ings» I concede Lintas is only number 
one in advertising billing with Rs 60 
crores. On 31 December Lintas India 
announced that they had become the 
largest agei^ in advertising with a 
capitalised biOtog of Rs 60 crores. This 
figure excludes earnings from Pathfin- 
ders. The release was made on the basts 
of HTA’s figures published in The Eco- 
nomic Tbaes of 30 December showing 
a capitalised billing of Rs 52 crores 


I t has not been an easy year for 
Bombay housewife Vimala Shah. She 
i has been a helpless spectator, watching 
I her household budget spiralling up, up, 

I and out of control. In 1986 ten kg of 
I wheat cost her Rs 35 but in 1987 she had 
I to pay Rs 55. The price of rice had gone 
up from Rs (i.W) to anywhere between 
Rs 8 and Rs 9; milk price went up by Ku 
1; ghee is priced anywhere between Rs 
140 and Rs 180. Even the price of toilet 
soap has gone up sharply. 

Wliilc Uk’ price sconano went from 
bad to worse in Dccenibcr, there is little 
sir’ll that the sitiiatKai is likelv to ini> 
prove in the near future, lo make 
matters worse, three weeks aRo. the 
government moved to lake the price of 
essentials like steel and coal by a steep 
1.") per cent. In addition, it also allowed 
laiR.ii prices to move upwards. Says I.Z. 
iihntty of the National Council for Adv- 
anced I‘)conomic Kest*arch, "The hikes 
could Inuu'h up and uanpound the price 
rise. " 

But lliouRh tile consumers may be 
RripiiiR, the Rovernnienl is taking a more 
sanguine view of the whole situation 
than might be expected. Officials point 
out that the 1987 drought was the worst 
siiive lnde|iendence. yet the economy 
I has I'ome through relatively unscathed, 
j "You have to judge the economy in the 
cniilext of the drought over which the 


52 


(kichiding billiiigs from IMRB). Subse- 
quently, HTAhas dedared a figmof Rs 
65 crores as capitalised bUfings indiidmg 
bilfings from IMRB. Sinoe IMRB's bill- 
ings are estimated at Ra 10 crores, 
HTA's revised figure also confirm that 
Lintas has overtaken HTA in adver- 
tising.^ 

The controversy apart, the figrt re- 
mains that Lintas has had a phenomenal 
growth in the last two years. In 1986 
they got 32 new brands wfaidi by 1987 
had increased to 69 mw brands, with 
the 37 new ones accounting for biOings 
ofRslScrores. V^theMustry^w 
at the rate of around 25 per cent, Lhtaa 
showed 50 per cent growth in 1987 


government has no control," says a 
senior govenimenl official. 

Now, the government is pinning a lot 
of hope on the coming rabi crop. I'hey 
are hoping that a rikkI rabi crop will 
neiilnilise the effect of the December 
price hikes and help keep the lid on 
inflation. But, on thc^ other liarid, a bad 
monsoon could work in exactly the 
oppo.sile direction. Explains Bhatly, "If 
we havt* a good rabi then it might mX be 



so bad. If the rabi is bad then inflation 
could be very high." 

For the time being, most of the 
government’s economic czars are opti- 
mistic. lliey point out that by all present 
indications the rabi crop should turn out 
well. In addition to this, they emphasise 
that the economy has held out despite 
the drought which has hit almost two- 
thirds of the country. Food production 
has dropped by 10 per cent but the drop 
is less than it has been in previous 
drought years. Comments Bhatty, 
“We’ve been able to ride it. Intrinsically 
our economy is in a better shape." 

(iovenimenl officials brandish statis- 
tics to prove their point. In 1979, which 
was the last time the economy was hit 
by a severe drought before the 1987 
one. the impact was, far greater. Prices 
went up by 17 per cent then compared 
to around 10 per cent this year. Similar- 
ly, in 1979. gross national product drop- 
ped by 4.9 per cent while in 1987 it fell 
by merely two per cent. 

In other ways, loo. the system held 
together in 1987 despite strains from all 
sides. I'hough hydro-electric generation 
dropped sharply, it was compensated to 
some extent by thermal power genera- 
tion which comprised 55 per cent of the 
total power generated compared to 47 
per cent in 1979. 

Yet, there is no getting away fnnn the 
fact that prices did rise steeply for 
consumers. T'he wholesale price index 
rose by 8.5 per cent and the consumer 
price index by 9.5 per cent. 

However, foodgrain prices did not 
i rise half as much as they might have 
earlier. It is prices of commodities like 
edible oils and raw cotton that have 
escalated sharply. The reason is fairly 
obvious: the government was able to 
keep a check on rising wheal tinces by 
releasing grain from the buffer stock and 
distributing it through the public dis- 
tribution system. 

'file prices of edible oils, by contrast, 
have surged forward precisely because 
the government did not have large 
stocks to push into the market. Ground- 
nut oil prices went up by 40 per cent, 
after the total output dropped from an 
annual average of 11-13 million tonnes 
during 1983-86 to around 10-11 million 
tonnes in 1987. In Gujarat, practolly 
the entire crop was wiped out. Produc- 
tion in the state was around 1.5 million 
tonnes in 1986, but last year it dropped 
to a mere 0. 1 million tonne. Inevitably, 
the groundnut oil market which is con- 
trolled by a closely controlled cartel 
soared. And though the government 
moved quickly by deciding on large-scale 
imports to counter the shortages, they 
could not prevent the price rise. 


against 48 per cent in 1986. 


ECONOMY 


3 


Will the price line hoM? 

Despite tile severe drought of 1987, inflation is still under 
control. But without a good rabi crop, consumers might 
have to cope witit a n^htmarish situation 


tmiDAV 17-23 JWWylwS' 



BUSINESS 


The Kovemniciil is claiming credit for 
having moved comparatively quickly to 
control inflation and combat the drouglit 
of 19S7. Action was taken early, for 
instance, to combat the shortage of 
edible oils by releases through the public 
distribution system. An assessment of 
central aid was also made quickly and 
action plans were fonnulated to combat 
the shortage of fodder and drinking 
water. 


T he country’s first all women's bank 
(a Syndicate Bank branch) cele- 
brated its silver jublilee recently. The 
brainchDd of T.A. Pai. whose fexnily 
founded the Syndicate Bank in Manipal. 
Karnataka, the Seshadripuram all 
women's branch in Bangalore was set up 
in 1962. It claimed to be the second of its 
kind in the world, after the first such 
branch set up in Scotland. Twenty-five 
years later, Syndicate Bank has nine 
women's branches in the country, and 
has inspii ed a few other banks to try out 
the concept. 

When the Seshadripuram branch 
opened to the public, there was much 
scepticism as to whether women could 
really 'man' a bank branch. In fact, the 
head office of the Syndicate Bank itself 
seemed a little wary of its own progres- 
sive idea. So, along witli the first 15 
females recruited, one man too was 
hired, to handle the cash transactions, 
and other ‘more responsible work'. He 
was relieved of his duties only when the 
second woman manager, Mrs Susheela 
Padiyar took over, and women were 
allowed to ‘manage’ the bank, in the full 
sense of the term. 

The scepticism and the sniggering 
stopped fairly soon, since the branch 
managed to hold its own, in competition 
with branches run by mfaced or male 
staff. Today, the bank has a respectable 
38,400 accounts, of which a majority are 
held by women, and has deposits totall- 
ing about Rs 11 crores. “We have stood 
the test of time,'' says the present 
manager Mrs Meera Ganesh. The prac- 
tice of hiring men in a so-called women's 
branch has, however, survived. Today 
the bank has four male employees, 
including the second in coimnand,N.R. 


But what does the future hold? Eco- 
nomists expect that if the rabi crop does 
not do well then inflation could sh(x>t up 
in the coming months to anywhere 
between 17 and 20 per cent. Bhatty 
says, "The overall situation is still better 
than what was anticipated earlier. Peo- 
ple thought It would be a disaster this 
year, 'fhere are no signs that there is 
iikely to be one.” 

Paran Balakrishnan/Mair IMM 


recalls that the all women staff occa- 
sionally had difficulty in dealing with an 
offensive male customer, 'fhey often 
had to club together to deal with the 
nuisance. “Women, together, have the 
courage for that.” she says. In a more 
humorous vein, she disclosed that her 
staff were too efficient for the young, 
male account holders. 'Ibey often joked 
that the instant service they received 
prevented them from lingering at the 
branch. Padiyar somewhat sentimentally 
says that the branch used to work like a 
family unit. 

The idea of women’s branches hjs not 
really caught on. Most of the all women 
branches in existence today were set up 
only in the Sixties and Seventies. In fact, 
although the idea was certainly novel and 
even bold in '62, when women needed 
special encouragement to take up jobs, 
the need for it, today, is questionable. 
After all, through the competitive ex- 
aminations recruitment of women has 




PROFESSIONS ^ 


The bdy is a banker 

The country’s first aU women’s bank, and the world’s 
second, is celebrating Us sUver Jubilee. But are women 
bankers treated at par wUh their male colleagues? 



Manager Maara Qanaali (atanding) at the Sfahadripuram branch of the Syndicate Bank 


Sadananda. He explains away his pre- 
sence by saying that there is an unwrit- 
ten understanti^g that men would be 
required for the ‘outdoor work' . such as 
spot inspections and recoveries. To an 
extent of course, this defeats the very 
purpose of having a women’s branch. 
"But.” says Sa^nanda, "sometimes 
women are not willing to go out for this 
type of work.” 

Then what is the rationale for having 
women’s branches at all? According to 
Meera Ganesh, "It is meant mainly for 
the women customers. It facilitates 
women from all walks of life to come to 
us confidently and seek guidance.” The 
assistant manager Sudha Sharma 
agrees. "Women find us more approach- 
able.” she says, "and being women, we 
go all out to help them.” 

B ut it was not always smooth sailing 
for the branch. Susheela Padiyar, 
who served the bank from '67 to '77. 


shot up to nearly equal that of men. and 
most banks in the cou.ifry ha^e a 
satisfactory male-female ratio in the 
clerical and accounting sections at least. 

Unfortunately, however, women have 
rarely made it to the top in the banking 
industry. In Canara Bank, for instance, 
which is number three among the indus- 
trialised banks, the highest post given to 
a woman is that of general manager, 
whereas in Syndicate Bank, which ranks 
sixth, no woman has made it beyond the 
deputy manager level. Bank sources 
think there are complex reasons for this 
dismal state of affairs that go beyond 
the stock explanation of male domination 
in banks. 

They do not like to be transfen ed 
away from their husbands and families, 
and this keeps them down, because 
promotions are injudiciously linked to 
the number of times one is transferred. 


53 


OUSINKSS 



I A bond with thej^ple 

WUh the setting up of the Nuclear Power Corporation 
which has erUered the.market, the energy scenario 
may witness a-distinct improvement 

I t’s "the nuclear happcming” of the will also include three industrialists and 
year, or so the advertisements claim, management experts, two nuclear en- 
ITie Nuclear Power Corporation (NPC), gincers, a representative of the re- 
registered as a public sector enten)rise search and development unit of the 
of the department of atomic energy went Bhaba Atomic Research Centre, and the 
public on 7 January, 1988, and for the chairman of the Central Electricity Au- 
first time the people of India will be able thority. 

to play a small part in the government's 'Fhe Rs 100 crores that the public 
nuclear programme by buying 1,000- issue should bring in will finance the 
rupee bonds -'<^ither 13 per cent or nine corporation's projected capital expendi- 
per cent tax-free bonds. ture of Rs 375 crores to achieve the 

'Fhe dec ision to go public is not merely target of 1,465 MW of nuclear power by 
to raise Rs 100 crores. "'Fhe move to go 1988-89. This is the short-term target, 
in for public borrov'ings is a strategic But in about 15 years, say by 2000 AI). 
move on the part of the government to the NPC is expected to create a capacity 
gauge the extent of interest and c(K3p- of 10,(M)0 MW at a cost of Rs 11,000 
eration that the people are willing to give crores. Of the total capital requirement, 
towards the government’s nuclear pow- 37 per cent is expected to be generated 
er programme,’’ said S.L. Kati, niem- from internal resources like operating 
her. Atomic Energy Commission, surplus, while 30 per cent w*ll be 
speaking on the eve of the inauguration provided by the government in the form 
of the NI*C. of loan and equity. 

While the 11 -member NPC board has The sceptics, however, are doubtful 
yet to be constituted. Dr Srinivasan, about how effective the NPC will be 
secretary, department of atomic energy, in achieving its target. Considering that 
is tipped to be the chairman. 'Die board till date it has taken 10-12 years to put 


Corporate jottiiigs 

Jeneoii ft NIcholsonB The com- this field. The first in the series, 

pany that claims to be **the most KS-1101, is m^ufoctured in India in 

trusted name in paints", has come technical collaboration with world- 

out with an extra-life exterior finish renowned Sh^ .Corporation of, 
called Armor Quartz. Almost any Japan and its sister concern Koron 
masonry surface can now be given a Business Systems Ltd. 
fine-textured, high-class finish. Re- 
peated torture-tests have proved EID Purry (IncRa) Ltd: The manu- 

that Armor Quartz will not peel, facturers of the well-known Tarry- 

fade, crumble or stain for at least 10 ware* brand of sanitaryware have 

years, and wiU remain unaffected by introduced a new range in the mar- 

extreme temperatures, dusty winds, ket: Tairyware Cascade*. The wa- 

rain and damp. ter-saving Water-closets, bidets, 

wash-basins and matching accessor- 
ies in elegant shades are being made 

Kotm (Indto) Ltd: The company at, the company’s recently- , 
that introduced the first manual plain maimed plant at Ranipet.in tech- 
paper copier in India in 1971, is now nical coltebora^ with IFO.Sanitar 
poised to launch the Kores-Shaip ^of3wed^aTI^|;arrywareCas- 
rai^ of fourth generation automatic m|de^watericl^i^:!ir reduce water , 
plain paper copiers incofporating the compared to 

latest microprocessor technology m | rimel|u 


up a nuclear plant, and after 25 years 
barely 1,230 MW capacity has been 
installed, they have great doubts 
whether 10.000 MW will be a reality by 
2000 AD. The doubting Thomases also 
claim that there is no proven tecluiology 
in the possession of the NPC to show 
that mass production will be a viable 
proposition. The reservations of some 
seem, to an extent, to be justified by the 
fact that the first standardised 235 MW 
reactor at Narora has not yet gone into 
operation. The reactor has b^n beset 
with problems because it is in the 
seismic zone. 

However, R. Basu, NPC’s executive 
director (finance and personnel), is more 
optimistic. He says that unlike the 
Madras Atomic Power Project (MAPP), 
the NPC would not be held up for want 
of heavy water, once the Hazari heavy 


THE NUCLEAR 
HAPPENING. 

V /f2v NUCLEAR POWER 
iPl CORPORATION 


wait for the bonds with a 
difference. 

January 1988 
Nuclear Power Bonds. 


An wl ciinpsljn Iftf ttif nuolfSf fwwff frftiirf s 

water project comes up. But the critics 
point out that an investment of Rs 
11,000 crores is necessary to meet the 
heavy water requirements for a 10,000 
MW programme, and wonder if so large 
an investment is feasible . 

Another point that should hearten 
bond applicants is the fact that today less 
than ten per cent of the materials 
required for the' nuclear programme are 
imported, and these include items like 
special steels. But all critical ^uipment 
is manufactured within the country. 

Despite the pessimists, Basu main- 
tains that nuclear power i^nts are 
commercially viable. He say^, ‘Tn 1986- 
87 we posted profits of Rs crores on 
gross revenue of Rs 182 crores from the 
five operating nuclear power units. One 
can imagine the surplus available. Even 
though our price per unit to the con- 
sumer is lower than the thenhal sta- 
tions, we have a 12 per cent in-built 
profit factor at 62.8 per Cent capacity 
utilisation." Good news for prospective 
bond owners! 

CNfaToMa/Bbfiitay 

SUMMY jmty iges 





Vet another business 
1 family is on the verge of 
a split. This timeit's the 
house of thackerseys which 
telongs to thie family of the 
late cricket leg^Vjay 

Merchant. HisdaU[^t^rand 


the various conmai^s of ma- 
jor corporate violatioiis. 

Says Mrs Aditi Merchant 
Santhanam, *TTieyhad 
started all this even whde my 
father was alive. They 
started harassing him a lot, 

I because (rf which he went to 
hospitd four times in the last 

one year with heart prob- 
lems." Now the brother- 
sister team has decided to hit 
back, and will shortly be 
initiating several court ac- 
tions on charges of criminal, 
civil and corporate violations 


are trying to eoge uiem ww 
their mother out from the 
multi-crore congtomerate 
comprising 34 companies. 
They also accuse their rela- 
tives as well as some of the 
directors on the boards of 


Vljsy Msrchtrrt! InharHort at war 

son, Aditi (32) and Amar 
(29), allege that th^ 
cousins, the offspring of 
Merchant's-two brothers 
with whom he had buflt up 
the house of Thackerseys, 


Mafatlals who are still 
warring over a division ot the 
family spoils, and Delhi's 
DCM group where the 
uneasy truce that prevailed 

after Bharat Ram and Charat 
Ram were eased out, shows 
signs of collapsing 


T lje splitting season has 
well and truly arrived. 

I Hot on the heels of the 

Bangur and Modi splits, 
there are rumours that the 

.R' jnaq Singh group is also 
at ing problems with the 
' famfly's sole competent 

manager, Surinder Kapoor 
(Raunaq Singh’s son-in*la\y) 
planning to strike out on his 

own and abandon Bharat 

Gears, the company he has 
run so successfully for so 
long. 

Others on the split-hst 
include the already-separate 

HaunaqSlnQhitwwIlytroublts 





T he race to get into the 
magazine business never 
seems to slow down. The 
latest at the starting block is 
the Business India Group 
which is now going ahead 
with plans to bring out a 
weekly newsmagazine. 

The group is making ambi- 
tious plans for its new maga- 
zine apd is thinking of print- 
ing it both in Dellu and Born- 
bay— something no magazine 
has ever attempted before-- - 
to gel the editions on the 
; stands out fast. Business In- 

j dia’s newsmagazine, which 

i will have its editorial offices 
1 in New Delhi, is going to fare 

I a lough fight to establish 
i itself in a crowded field. 

The Business India Group 
is not the only one with plans 
to bring out a nev .naga- 
zine - even .he government 
is getting into the act. 'Hie 

department of tourism is 
tying up with Media Trans- 
asia to bring out a magazine 
to promote tourism which 
will be called Discover In- 
dia-^like the ill-fated TV quiz 
series. 

And there will be competi 
'jion of sorts from the Inter- 
national Airports Authority of 

India which is also bringing 
out a new magazine. I 'dil 
i aimed at the burgeoning 
tourist traffic. 






The dilemma of our 
political parties 

Does ideology count for anything in Indian politics? And do our politicians 
really believe in anything? A survey 



**The Seld of politics always presents the 
same strug^e» There are the right and 
the left, and in the middle is the swamp. 
The swamp is made up of know- 
nothhigs, of them who are without ideas, 
of them who are always in the majority . " 
—August Bebel: Address to the So^ 
Democratic Party Congress, 1903 


I ndian politics is rich in paradox. 
Consider the following: 

• ^iv Gandhi promises to prod 
India into leaping into the 21st 
century, where obscurantism and 
ftindamentalism have no place. A year 
later, he succumbs to pressure from 
Muslim fundamentalists and passes the 
Muslim Women's Bill. Two years after 
that, his government watches ineffec- 
tually as the sati of Roop Kanwar is 
glorified. 

• Arif Mohammed Khan resigns from 
the government over the Muslim 
Women's Bill, and because he views the 
rise of Muslim fundamentalism as a 
grave threat. Two-and-;a-half years la- 
ter, he allies with Syed Shahabuddin, the 
representative of the fundamentalist 
forces, he once opposed! 

• Chaudhary Chaiw Singh's Lok Dal is 
meant to provide an alternative to the 
Nehruvian vision of India. During his last 
years, the Chaudhary allies with H.N. 
Bahuguna who swears by this Nehruvian 
vision; after his death, ^uguna becom- 
es president of the pajty., 

• Vishwanath Pratap Singh is the most 
right wing finance minister in India's 
history. After he falls out with Rajiv 
Gandhi, he suddenly disowns his dd 
policies, discovers Nto and announces: 
'The left are my natural allies." 

• Jyoti Basu is a leading light of the 
Cofimiunist P^ of India (Marxist) 
^vhose trade unions drive industry out of 
Bei^. But when Basu becomes chief 
minister, he reverses this trend, finds 
new .virtues in capitalism, tames the 
unions and invites multinationals. 

H.N. Bahugufw: MtoHigy Is not a polfIM 
nsoisalty 


SUMMV 17-^ jMiivy 1988 




• Vidya Charan Shukla lectures the 
press on the ^licence' it has enjoyed, 
implements unprecedented censorship 
regulations, and tries to all but dose 
down the Indian Express, A decade 
later, the same Shukla accompanies 
Express journalists as they attempt to 
re-enter their office building and sings 
the praises of the fre^ press. 

Two condusions can be derived from 
such paradoxes. The first that Indian 
politicians are hypocritical, venal indi- 
viduals who will say anything in the 
pursuit of their self-advancement. And 
the second that Indian politics is a vast 
ideological wasteland in which personali- 
ties are more important than issues and 
nobody actually believes anything. 

Perhaps pre^ctably, most politicians 
plumb for the second condusion. Says 
K.P. Unnikrishnan of the Congress(S): 
'Talk of ideology in Indian politics is 
misplaced." Agrees the Jan Morcha's 
Arif Mohammed Khan: "Ideology be- 
comes the first casualty because of too 
much empliasis on pragmatism in pre- 
sentday politics, and unfortunately the 
present rulers do not seem to have any 
knowledge of any ideology." And veter- 
an Opposition ideologue Madhu Limaye 
is the most forthri^t: "Today you find 
Arun Nehru and Jyoti Basu on the same 
side. Ideology is an obsolete and out- 
dated concept in today's politics." 

Politiciansoffer various explanations for 
contradictory alliances based on para- 
doxical polides. Says H.N. Bahuguna, 
"We have come together to fight the 
government, not to form the govern- 
ment." While fighting the government, 
all l^ds of forces may get together. In 
fact, the virtual absence of idedogy from 
Indian politics may have somethi^ to do 
with the fact that when the Congress 
party was formed, its goal was also 
negative: to throw out the British. And 
hence, the party became~in Jawaharlal 
Nehru's phrase— a banyan tree, offering 
shelter to people of varying ideologies. 

In the years just before Independ- 
ence, when the time came to ^ve shape 
to free India, ideoioffcal differences 
surfaced. Gandhi was dsappointed that 
neUjher Nehru nor Sardar Patel regarded 
his Fanchayati Rsd concept as workable 
and the issue caused some debate within 
the party, (Kamalapati Tripathi, as a 
inento of the constituent assembly, 
made a fiery speech in favour of Pan* 
duyati Rti.) Finally, Gandhi wrote hb 
famous testament recommending the 
diabaiiding of the Congress organisation 
and its conversion into a Lok Seva 

b the yean fanmediately foUoning 
bdependenoe, ideological differences 
led to schwitf i«itlan--eiid finaOy 


VishwanathPratapSii^h is the most right . 
wing finance minister in India’s history. After 
he falls out with R^iV Gahdhi, he suddenly 
disowns his old policies, discovers Marx and 
announces: "The left are my natural allies” 


from— the Cbngress. First to leave ' 
were the rightist elements. In 1951, 
Shyama Prasad Mukheijee and K.C. 
Niyogi resigned from the party on the 
immediate issue of the influx of refugees 
from East Pakistan. Soon after, they 
formed the Bharatiya Jan Sangh with a 
political programme that opposed land 
reforms and favoured the private sector, j 
Later, as its support base widened in ; 
UP, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and 
Punjab, the party began to acquire a 
pro-Hindu character. 

Next to depart were the socialists 
who had. existed as a distinct group 
within the Congress. In 1953, Ram 
Manohar Lohia formed the Prs^ Social- 
ist Party and the intermediate castes 
who had suddenly become a political 
force in north India after Zaxnindari 
Abolition Act were its support base. 

In 1959, the Swatantt Party dedi- 
cated to supporting lag ousiness and the 
maharajas came into being. Despite the 
patronage of assorted princelings, C. 
R^agopalachari and several industrial 
houses, it failed lar^y because of 
ineffectual leadership (i.e'. Minoo 
Masani). 

From then on, the only significant 
ideological grouping to have emerged is 
Charan Singh’s Itoti Dal (founded in 
1967) whi^ devoted itself to bad- 
mouthing Nehru and Industrialisation and 
claimed to represent the rural masses. 
(Of course the communist parties con- 
tinued to undergo changes of tJieir own.) 

V.P. Singh: ohangliig - 7 " 

wtththetlmM 


A ccording to professor Bashiruddin 
Ahmed of the Centre for the Study 
of Developing Societies, the age of 
ideology in Indian politics came to an end 
in the sixties. By then, most political 
parties had come to accept the ideology 






MMMV 17^ Jmiw I96S 



i 



Arif Mohammad 
Khan resigns f roiQ 
the government 
over the Muslim 
Women’s BiU, and 
because he views 
the rise of Muslim 
fundamentalism as 
a grave threat. 
Later, he allies with 
Syed Shahabuddin, 
a fundamentalist 


f 


of the Indian state as set forth in the 
Constitution. Despite their diverse so> 
cial, economic and political interests, all 
parties today operate within certain 
broad ideological parameters derived 
from that Constitution. They cannot 
afford to have a very nairow ideological 
hardline, and still survive as national 
political parties. 

And survival also demands greater 
focus on values when specific program- 
mes are difficult to agree upon. The 
success of V.P. Singh’s anti-corruption 
platform lay in the fact that people from 
widely differing social bases could enthu- 
siastically unite in supporting it. ’The 
beauty of democratic politics is that it 
slowly builds up pressure which forces 
people to engage in better politics in 
spite of themselves" says Prof. Ahmed. 

Whether a clearly articulated ideolo- 
gy, followed irrespective of social and 
political fluctuations, would have been 
better for India is debatable. Even if one 
feels that today’s political parties have 
made cynical expediency their god, and 
have therefore destroyed people’s faith 
in the political process, Prof. Ahmed 
cannot accept the "simplistic notion" 
that a well-defined ideolo^ would have 
produced more ethical ponies. Peron in 
Argentina is an example of how perso- 
nality cults and corruption can be gener- 
ated even by intensely ideological par- 
j ties. 

Prof. Ahmed does admit, however, 
that the Communist parties in India do 
have an impressive record. They have 
necessarily been constrained by ideolo- 
gy and yet managed to survive without 


being dominated by personalities. And 
some of their programmes have had far 
more consistent success than those of 
the non-communists. But Prof. Ahmed 
feels that this success is more due to 
their multi-layered formal structure of 
accountability than to their commitment 
to ideology. 

At the other end of the spectrum are 
parties like the BJP and the RSS which 
have a commitment to ideology over 
pragmatism that is similar to that of the 
communists. But they are still on the 
fringes of the larger Indian political 
scene, however vociferous they may be. 
The Congressdj, despite containing fac- 
tions of Hindu and Muslim fundamental- 
ists despite the contradictions of its 
leaders, still remains a party without an 
ideology. Even Nehru who claimed to 
have a socialist vision, also disclaimed 
the fact that socialism was a mantra for 
him. Rather, he preferred "to remain 
flexible, to adopt himself to various 
situations," according to Uimikrishnan. 
His grandson certainly has no concept of 
ideology. 

As for the other Opposition parties, 
which fall between the left and the BJP 
or RSS, their orientation is similar to 
that of the original Confess Party of 
India, with individual shifts and priori- 
ties, For all their differences, parties like 
tlie Janata, Con^essfS) or Lok Dal all 
have faith in basic democratic principle. 

14 points Iist<?d1)y the four-party 
frent dpngirising the CongressfS), Jana- 
ta, (A) and Jan Morcha should 

not be cmuftKl .^th an ideotogy," 
Unnikrishni^jiilnts out. 


Jan Morcha leader, V.C. Shukla, ex- 
plains his party's disaffection with Rajiv 
Gandhi's Congressd) by saying the 
I Prime Minister has been instrumental in 
his party's deviation from the four piflars 
of Congress ideology such as it was. 
These are faith in democracy, secular- 
ism, socialism and the unity and integrity 

India. Even if these elements consti- 
tute the ideology behind the largest 
political entity in India, they fall way 
behind the detailed coherence of ideolo- 
gy that binds together any communist 
party. 

Perhaps it is inevitable that such a 
loosely structured system of beliefs will 
eventually result in confusion, contradic- 
tion and disillusionment. Pragmatism, 
self-interest and even the desire to 
improve will continue to give birth to 
more and more groups and parties. 

Janata Party leader Surendra Mohan 
feels that in the mklst of all the chaos and 
the splintering of alliances, certain broad 
political streams still remain well- 
defined. The Congressd), according to 
Mohan, has abandoned its centrist posi- 


Left 

manoeuvres 

T he Conunutint movement has 
gooe throu^ • lot of vidsstbides 
and hasiiced two nudor sfilits in the 
fomofCnfMlandNaxal^ hi the 
cause of the right to self* 
determinatioii, the undivided CPI 
supported the densnds for PtddstSn 
as wdt as Cor a Sidi homelanl When 
indspoidenoe came, it was dubbed as 
being "sbam” and Nehtu was de- 
scribed ea an agest-of imperialiRn. 

After the formatkn of the Cooh 
nuniat government in Kerda. Oe 
Amritsar congress of the CM re* 
solved in 19Se that onir democretie 
means be adopted for capture of 
state power, apoaitim dwt was htor 
given up as the goveiianeat fsL 
Those who formed the it . 

1964 because of diftereneea on riis 
guesliao of the diameter , of the 
'jnenn siaie iim sikiiiw fovmnniiio 

gKau loniiUHiKins puc 

- - . **■ - e ^ J IfJ i— — **- --‘f- 

dmCIBQ, mSBOB OD tOBOtOBCKi SSaUimOg ’ 

propgreci ax mic- qdmb, mS' jwCQiiio ; 

’ QDBQhBBa a illMilMJBir nr iBB TlMmlMk » 

1 r A.-- 

Qoni mve omi qpiOT.wpppM 
the M«ada 

OOBlg iliqP!|AC|. WUHIitUOyWb .fVWp 


SUNDAY JNMWy IWB 


58 



PERSPECTIVE 


tkm and moved towards the right. And 
aside from the left and right-wing ex- 
tremists, all other parties still haik back 
to the basic Congress party ideology of 
pre-Independence days. Most of these 
parties will accept the crucial role of the 
public sector and employment-oriented 
economic planning. 

Ideally then, hov’ should a political 
party in India determine its priorities, 
given the social and economic realities of 
today? Sudhindra Bhadoria, president of 
the Yuva Janata, who recently undertook 
an arduous padayatra in Puiuab, feels 
that there can be no escape from 
ideology-lMsed politics if long-term im- 
parts are to be made. ^‘Because of the 
success of populist politics in the post- 
1971 phase, people started looking for 
short-term successes. 1 firmly b^eve 
that short-term successes are long-term 
frdlures. Today we will have to opt for 
short-term failures to achieve long-term 
successes as was done by Mahatma 
Gandhi and JP.” 

But saying that is not enough. For 
who will provide the equivalent lead- 



VidyaCharan 
ShAikla lectures the 
press ou tlie 
^liqenceMthhs 
eujoy^and 
implements 
unprecedented 
censorship 
regulations. A 
decade later, the 
same Shukla sings 
praises of the free 
press 



ership on a national scale? And how will 
polarised visions of the future be unified? 
On the one hand we have Lok Dal(A) 
general secretary Dr Subramaniam 
Swamy confidently asserting that the 
four-party front wUl usher in theera of a 
two-party system of politics. Lok Dal 
(A) president Ajit Sin^ also agrees with 
this assessment, saying that the front 
has achieved ideological cohesion, and 
the rooting out of corruption has now 
become a distinct possibility. 

On the other hand, Lok Dal(B) presi- 
dent H.N. Bahuguna dismisses idedogy 
as a political necessity. He neither 
telieves in the monolifo of Congress 
ideology, nor in any subsequent one. 
Recalling the Stalin-Hitler pact, BahugU’ 
na condemns ideologies because **they 
seek their extension even in handshakes 
with Satan." To avoid unprinc^led com- 
promises and to maintain ideologicai 
purity, says Bahuguna. one must 
stay out of power. 

The inference is dear — expedience 
and pragmatism, not ideology or idealism, 
win continue to be the motivating factors 
tehind politicians, parties and fronts. 
FVom time to time vague ideological 
packets will be thrown out for the 
susceptible and the gullible. But in foe 
increasingly competitive Indian political 
arena personalities, rather than new 
ideologies are likely to emerge and 
dominate. If soda! and economic prog- 
rammes successfully get underway, 
they wifl do so in spite of, not because 
oC tins trend. 

Knnwr with miu SmMMmt 


59 






BOOK EXTRACT 


Simmy imdRo^ 

gets made 

Hanif KureLshi’s diary of the making of his controversial film 


4^ 








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'■H., ■■ 




•.'^**952''- 












/f ^ 


^ 0 f* -■ 




^ ^ ^ f 


' 0 $ ^ -dr t' 




d' at 


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ii ? 






2 JUNE 1986 

I shove the first draft of Sanmiy and 
Rosie Get Laid through Stephen 
Frears's letterbox and run, not wanting 
him to see me. A few hours later he 
rings and says: This isn't an innocent 
act!’ and refuses to read it. He says he’s 
going to Seattle with Oaniel Day Lewis 
for the weekend to attend a film festival 
and he’ll read it on the plane. 

I have many doubts about the script 


and in lots of ways it’s rough, but I can’t 
get any further with it at the moment. In 
fact, I can't even bear to look at it. 

10 JUNE 1986 


I see the great Indian actor Shaslii 
Kai^r on TV, on the balcony of the 
Indian dressing-room at the Test Match. 
I'd like him to play the lead in the film, 
the politician. I’ve had him in mind since 
Frears met him in India and said how 
interesting he was. We try to track him 
down, but by the time we get to him he’s 
left the country. 


SMhtKBpoer aM Claire Bloom in Sammy 
and Aoa^MUM; powerful performanoee 





12 JUNE 1986 

Frears rings me to talk about his availa- 
bility. He's not going to be around for a 
while, being preoccupied with Prick Up 
Your Ears and then a film he’s shooting 
in India. I wonder if this is a subtle way 
of his saying he doesn’t want to direct 
the film. 

Meanwhile I send the script to Karin 
Hamborough at Channel 4. She and 
David Rose commissioned and paid for 
all of My Beautiful Laundrette. llien I 
I ring Tim Devan and tell him what’s going 
■ on. 

1 Bevan is a tall, hard-working man in 
! his mid-twenties, in love with making 
! films and doing deals. He and his partner 
I Sarah Radclyffe are relative newcomers 
in films, but between them they’ve been 
1 involved in several recent British films: 
My Beautiful Laundrette, Caravaggio, 
Personal Services, Efn. da. 



13 JUNE 1986 


Receive a letter from an aunt who 
lives in the north ot England. After 
seeing Laundrette she frequently rings 
my father to abuse him. Tour son is a 
complete bastard!’ she screeches down 
the phone, as if it’s my father’s fault I 
write such things. ‘Can’t you control the 
little bastard!’ she yells. ’Humiliating us 
in public! Suppose people find out I’m 
related to him!’ 

In her letter she says: ‘I tried to 
phone you, but I believe you were in the 
USA boring the pants off the Americans 
with your pornography... Worst of all, 
the film was offensive to your father’s 
dstinguished family. Uncle was portrayed 
in a very bad light, druiik in bed with his 
brand of Vodka, and uncut toenails. .. this 
was totally unc^led for and mischievous, 
it only brings to Ufjni your complete lack 
of loyalty, integrity and compas- 
sion... We didn’t know you were a “poof- 
ter”. We do hope you’re aware of AIDS 
and its dar^rs, i not, then a medical 
leaflet can be sent to you. Why oh why 


do you have to promote the widely held 
view of the British that all evil stems 
from Pakistani immigrants? I'hank good- 
ness for ti>p quality films like Gandhf, 

I think of something Th.ickcray wrote 
in Vanity Fair. 'If a man has committed 
wrong in life, I don’t know anv moralist 
more anxious to point his errors out to 
the world than his own relations.* 

1 decided to name the Asian lesbian in 
Sammy and Rosie after her. 

Like Laundrette, Sammy and Rosie is 
quite a personal story, autobiographical, 



Shashi has a 
difficult part. The 
character of Rafi is 
complex and 
contradictory and 
he has to play many 
different kinds of 
character 


not in its tacts but emotionally.^ The 
woman involved tl'll call her Sarah) 
asked to read the script. I said no, 
because the character will change as the 
film goes through several drafts; the 
actress playing the part will also change 
it. as will Frears when he starts to work 
on it. It's also difficult to wTile accurately 
about real people in fiction— however 
much you might want to — because the . 
demands of the idea are usually ‘■•ich that 
you have to transform the viriginal per- I 
son to fit the constraints of the story. All 
the same, I’m nervous about what Sarah 
will think of it. I know that in ce 4 tain 
passages I've been spiteful. 

On tile phone Frears talks about Ai1 
Malik for the part of Sammy. He’s an 
attractive actor, but we both wonder if 
he’s fly enough for the role. 

9 AUGUST 1986 


Lunch at T92' in Nutting Hill with Bevan 
and Radclyffe, and Frears. Shashi ar- 
rives witli his secretary after everyone 
else. He has on a loose brown costume, 
with a dark red and chocolate scarf flung 
over his shoulder. He is so regal and 
dignified, stylish and exotic, that a shiver 
goes throu(di the restaurant. 

I In the charm department he has real 

I class and yet he is genuinely modest. 1 


61 


T 


feel a little embarrassed at asking him to 
be in this film, small and fairly sordid as it 
is. But* Shashi says he thinks the script is 
better than that for Laundrette, He adds 
that he’s available at our convenience. 

18 DECEMBER 1986 

Suddenly we’re going into production at 
the beginning of January, shooting early 
in March, as Frears's Indian project has 
been delayed. So the script has to start 
looking ready. I'ry to get the story going 
earlier, Frears says. And the riots: 
we’re too familiar with them from televi- 
sion. Soihetliing more has to be going on 
than people throwing bottles at police- 


men. 1 interpret this to mean that what 
happens between the characters during 
these scenes is of pnmary interest. 

I meet Frances Barber in the produc- 
tion office. She's a very experienced 
theatre actor and I’ve known her work 
for years, as she's^risen up through the 
fringe to join the RSC. She’s done some 
film work (she in l^ck Up Your 
Ears), but not yei played a major role. 
The feeling is that she’s ready, that 
she's at the stage Daniel was at just 
before Laundrette.She talks well al^ut 
the script and can see the problems of 
playing against characters with the 
charm I've tried to give Rafi, and the 
bright childishne^ of Sammy. Rosie 


mustn't seem moralistic or self- 
righteous. 

Later Frears rings me, delighted to be 
in the middle of an interview with a 
young Pakistani actor, Ayub Khan Din, 
who is upstairs having a pee and is being 
considered for the part of Sammy. Art 
Malik, who we discussed first but were 
sceptical of, has anyway complained 
about the scenes in bed with Aima and 
about the scene where Sammy wanks, 
snorts coke and sucks on a milkshake at 
the same time. In the end he says the 
script isn't good enough. I think he 
prefers easier and more fjamorous kinds 
of roles. 


An encounter with Hanif Kureishi 


A t 30, with two successful films 
behind him, scriptwriter Hanif 
Kureishi can afford to be what be is, 
deliberately outrageous, laid back 
and contradictory. Touring India 
courtesy of the British Council re- 
cently, the young half-Pakistani half- 
British writer drew appreciative 
crowds even though most people are 
quite unfamiliar with his work. And 
by the time he reached Bangalore, he 
had his routine down pat. His talks 
were meant to entertain, hardly to 
inform. And entertain he did. Starting 
out with a suggestive story ot how he 
picked up his neck injury, not on any 
mountain range or a deep sea dive, 
but in bed. The idea was to shock, to 
titillate and to amuse. He threw in 
some anecdotes about his Royal 
Court days, and the experiences of 
watching Samuel Beckett in action. 
Inhere was some reference to his 
Pakistani father "who has spent a 
lifetime snooping through my mail" 
and his British mother ("who keeps 
her hands over her eyes when she 
comes to see my films and says, ’tell 
me when 1 can look’"). And there 
were the references to racism and 
Thatcher, to the powerful emotions 
that divide English society today, and 
which have provided the meat for 
both My Beautiful Laundrette and 
Sammy And Rosk. 

But to hear the short, stocky and 
fair Kureishi talk incongruously about 
**we brown" people and the conflicts 
of race makes you a little chary, 
Kureishi is no product of an impover- 
ished underclass after all. His father 
belonged to Pakistan's upper classes 
when he settled for Britaift in *47, and 
his mother is white. Nevertheless he 


says he was much abused at the state 
school, quite downtrodden, as he 
puts it. "People like me didn’t have a 
role ill British yfe like other kids’’, he 
says. "Others belonged, their future 
was certain." 

Kureishi today can say he belongs. 
At least to a fraternity of writers and 
artistes who are- on the cutting edge 
of British talent, an assortment of 
Asian and Black writers who ai^ 
bringing out the |est work in Britain. 
He talks about sense of solidarity 
of shared experiences that have 
brought different minority groups 
together. The other Britain. "1 think 
we're winning," He grins, "well make 
Britain brown." 

Not unlike tlie reality of Britain's 
melting pot subif bs, the half world of 
the characters in Kureishi’s films is 


complex, sexual, vicious. The 
streets are lived on, fought on. Race, 
class, sex. money, these factors are 
both the barriers and the bridges. 
For audiences groomed on Holly- 
wood, it is all a bit much. Especially 
for the Pakistani immigrants in Bri- 
tain and America, who see in 
Kureishi's films a world similar to 
theirs, yet stripped of its softer 
aelf-ima^. Both films have been 
banned in Pakistan, of course, and 
shunned by older Pakistanis in the 
west. "But the Indians loved My 
Beautiful Laimdrette/* says Kureishi 
with wry humour, "they said we 
always knew Pakistanis were like 
that." 

Like that, to many in Kureishi's 
audience, Pakistani means homosex- 
ual. Like the two protagonists, white, 
and brown, who set up die beautiful 
laundrette. And inevitably, allega- 
tions of homosexuafity spfll over into 
Kureiahi's personal life. Surpris^y, 
he goes out of his way to proclaim Ms 
own heterosexuality, with many re- 
ferences to his gfrifriend. "People 
have started th^ rumours," he 
says, "because thSy think you have 
no imagination. That everything you 
write about must have happened to 
you.” 

bi spite of the accolades and the 
brickbats wMcb perbaps he prises 
even more, Kureishi had no Smoos / 
about the iong-4ean impact o( Us 
. wdrk. He is very mifoh a conterri^-/ 
ary writer, captiffing / 9 nfkgea^^.m 
moments of a traiisitcity present, 
isix^ltoosiirefMll^mst^^ , 
geneiiDQn ot viewm jrav 
U^e Sahqan. tact 'iof 

mentor t« Utoi, 



To many in 
Kureishi’s 
audience, Pakistani 
means homosexual, 
inevitably, 
allegations of 
homosexuality spill 
pver intqtKureishi’s 
^personal life 

t ■ I I I. » II . . ■ 


62 



BOOK EXTRACT 


17 JANUARY 1987 


We look at the tape of Frances and Ayub 
together. They look gqod together. 
Ayub waits downstairs in his agen^ 
o&e» refusing to go home until we 
make our dedsion. He comes into the 
room looking dazed with tension. We 
dfer him the job. He thanks us all and 
shakes hands with us. 

Frears has decided that the film 
should be much more about young 
people than Td imagined, ^cause of 
Ayub being five years younger thm 
Frances we could as e»^ cast the 
people around them down in age as up. 


fufsome praise. **He is one of our 
be^ writers today/' says he enthy* 
siasticafly« Kureishi knows he's diffe- 
rent. 'Tm sort of lazy," he admits, 
"and could never spend four years on 
a book." Which Is what it took to 
produce Midnight's Children, which 
Rushdie started when he was thirty, 
exactly Kureishi's age now. KureisM 
himself writes quickies. They take no 
more than six months apiece. Ri^t 
now» he's working on a collection of 
stories for his consistent publishers 
Faber and Faber, called The Buddha 
of Suburbia and Other Stories. 

He may write quickies, but they 
hurt as much in spilling forth as the 
creations of more iabc^us writers. 
"In the end, all this success, it 
doesn't help you," he says. "After all 
tint, there comes a moment when 
you have to sit at your desk again, 
and won’t make any difference. 
Then it wiQ be just me and my paper 
and my backa<^ I'm dreadng it." 

With theatre becoming more diffi- 
cult and less accessible to audiences, 
Kurrishtsays he would Rec to work 
00 ^ another film socm. Thm aie 
80^9 ^possibilities being tossed 
a seqM to LmmrMte 
vM dktcbag Steven Frears. As for 
anyill^ there's a 

ifw not got any 

says the young pby- 

niaH^ doubly difflcult nbw 

isveftrffiiipbest^ dnaxL 
IKbhablytuiafttah^ 
Tffiicbifoafhfoootnh 

'§p»'awawRvAiesci!rMC|i lup*- 


•IMMV t7--a9 jmry iMi 


Frears says casting it young wiO make it 
more cheerful. I'm aQ for cheerftilnesa, 
though worried tha|^Ro8ie wfil seem 
oddly older than evSyone else. 


23 JAN UARY 1987 

Problems with Meera Syal, the actress 
we want to play Kara. Max Stafford- 
Clark, artistic director of the Royal 
Court, rings to say Meera has already 
committed herself to Caryl Churchill's 
play Serious Money. She also wants to 
play Rani in our film. At the moment the 
schedule can’t be arranged so she can do 
both. We don't want to press, her to 
choose, for fear she’ll choose the Court. 


them. Photographers shove through the 
crowd and climb across tables to get to 
them. 

I see Norman Mailer come in. He is 
stocky like a boxer and healthy of face, 
though he looks fiBil when he walks. It 
vrifl be a thrilliqg moment for me to have 
the great man rest his eyes on me when 
1 receive my award for the Laundrette 
screenplay. When the playwright Beth 
Henley announces my name 1 eagerly 
look out for Mailer the podium. 1 
start into my speech but almost stop 
talking when I see Mailer's place is now 
vacant and across the restaurant he is 
rapidly mounting the stairs to watch the 
fii^ if the Super Bowl on TV. 



FrancM Bwbar and Ayub KhM Dhi: Rofl. and Sammy 


It’s panful to her, espedaDy as Asian 
actors get offered so little work. 

Anj^y, well deal with it later. In the 
meantime we're goii|g to my favourite 
dty, New Ymk! 


26 JANUARY 1987 

We troop c& to th^ famous theatrical 
restaurant SardB's for an award dhmw. 
Like executioners, photographers fai 
black bataclavas crowd the entrance. 
Going in, 1 realiae {ve've arrived too 
eaily. We sit down atyi they being ua our 
food vddle others are still arriving. The 
aaknon tastes like walfoaver. Around the 
waDs there are hideous caiicatuiea of 
flm stars and famouajwritera. Thanhftd- 
Yi the ceremony irnot tefoviaed or 
oompetilive: you know if you've won; 
thev don't tonnent yoiwidi any opening 
of envelopes. SnsyCpao^ and Lynn 
Redgrave, obvioualy experienced at the 
award game, time it just liifat, so that 
wbeo mey arrive the whofe room is in 
place and is forced t» turn and hMk at 


17 FEBRUARY 1987 

To see Claire Bloom, Stephen and L 
Chat for a wfaBe to Philip Roth. Roth 
fizzes and whirls with mischief and 
vibrant intereat in the world. He is a 
wkked teller of tales! I tell him that on 
tidrfog Ms advice and writing some 
ficrion, a story I've written for the 
Londoa Review of Books may not be 
accepted in the US because of the sex 
and four4etter words in it He says he's 
had similar trouble: fanagiM the nui* 
aance, he teBs me, ci having to find s 
suitable synonyin for the perfectly 
adequate 'dogaMt* just so your story can 
be puUiahed in the prissy New Yorker. 
% alao teUa us with great glee that he'd 
written a story caled The Tonnemed 
Cunt*, but had to diange the titl^ 
Claire fooks younger than her fifty-six 
years and 1 did want Afioe older than 
that, partly so that the aoene I Bfled 
from A Sentnnentaf Edifcatfon— the 
vroman feta down her hair and it has 


63 


gone white^is effective. Claire hunts 
through the script for a line she doesn't 
understand. It is: 'The proletarian and 
theocratic ideas you theoretically admire 
grind civilisation into dust. ' It seems to 
me that no clearer line has ever been 
written. Prears explains the line and 
adds that the line 'rhat country has been 
sodomised by religion/ in Laundrette 
mystified him loi^ after the film had 
b^n finished. Claire looks sceptical and 
says she doesn’t think she can say 
something she doesn't understand. 

On the way home Prears says Shashi 
has rung to ask if he can leave early on 
the first day of shooting to go to a 
cocktail party. Prears says if this is how 
stars behave, it might all be difficult to 
deal with. 


3 MARCH 1987 


First day of shooting. I go to pick up 
Shashi who turned up late last night. 1 
nearly didn’t come at all/ he says. Tve 
got big tax problems. Rajiv Gandhi 
himself had to sort them out. ’ Shashi has 
three Indian writers staying with him in 
his flat. They’re wotking on a script 
Shashi will direct at the end of the year. 
He tells me that Indian film-writers often 
write ten films a year and earn 
£250,000. Some writers only work out 
the story and are no good at dialogue, 
while others just come in for the verl^. 

Shashi looks splendid, if a little plump. 
He's less familiar with the script than I'd 
hoped-'and in the car he asks me to 
remind him of the story— 'but he's se- 
rious and keen. Soon everyone is in love 
with him. 

We shoot the scene of Rosie finding 
the old man dead in the bath. 1 turn up 
and find Frances in a long green coat 
with a furry black collar. On her head 
she has a black pillbox hat. Instead of a 
social worker she looks like an extra 
from Doctor SSiivago, I take it as a direct 
Mow to the heart, as if it’s complete 
misunderstanding of everything I've 
been trying to do. Frances is very 
nervous and apprehensive, as it’s the 
first day, and she clings to the coat as if 
it's a p^ of Rosie's soul. But Prears is 

enjoying himself. 

• 

When Shashi comes on set— <we’re 
shooting the scene outside and inside 
the off-licence— the local Asians come 
out of their s^s in amazement. One 
immediately gives him three boxes of 
crisps. An^er gives him perfume and 
aftershave. For them Shashi is a mas- 
sive star, like Robert Redford, and he 
has been around for oonsideraMy longer, 
making over 200 films since he first 
started, aged eight. When they believe it 
is him, the kids dress up in their best 



I received a tetter 
fromanaiiiitWlio 
lives in the north of 
England. She says: 
^*Iti^d to phone 
yon, but I believe 
you were in the 
USA boring the 
pants off the 
Americans with 
your pornography” 


clothes— the Asian girls in smart shal- 
war kamiz and jewellery— to be photo- 
graphed with him. Others ring their 
relatives who come in cars across Lon- 
don and wait patiently in the freezing 
cold for a bre^ in filming so they can 
stand next to ftieir idol. 

Seeing the off-licence with wire-mesh 
across die counter, the dogs, the siege- 
like atmosphere— it Is based on places I 
know in Brixton, where buying a bottle 
of wine can be like entering a battle 
zone — Shashi is taken aback, as Rafi 
would be. Shashi asks: 'Are there really 
places like this in London?' 

Shashi decides to^ wear a moustache 
for the part. It makes him look older and 
less handsome, less of a matinee idoi; 
but also formidable, imposing and sort of 
British in the rig^t military, authoritarian 
sort of way. 


17 MARCH 1987 


Shooting the waste-ground material on 
the large piece of unused ground under 
the motorway. Bit of a shock to turn up 
at the location and find Frances Barber 
in a black and udute corset I look at her 
wondering if she has forgotten to put the 
rest other dothes on. Her breasts, well, 
they are jammed into an odd shape: it 
looto as thou^ she has two Cornish 
pasties attached to her chest I tell 
Stephen she looks like a gangster's moll 
from a western. He takes it as a 
compliment 'That’s exactly what 1 in- 
tencled,' he says. 'John Fczd would be 
proud of me.' 

BjfwM takes, the corset debate 
be^p^^us, as in a snow- 
atom ShpvhMb in a filthy flea-ridden 
annchaiii ,^|ont of a smcddng fire. 


surrounded by young people in grey 
costumes banging tins. Frears argues 
that the corset is an inspired idea; it 
liberates Rosie from do-good^; she 
kwks bizarre, anarchistic and interest- 
ing, not earnest or condescending. What 
he ttai describes as the 'simplistic 
politics of the film’ he says are trans- 
cended by imaginativeness. At the end 
of the argument he calls me a prude and 
for the rest of the afternoon he refers to 
me as Mrs Grundy. 

The corset depresses me because 
after everyone’s work on the film it is 
still easy to hit a wrong note. I fed 
uneasy in complaining because 1 thmk 
Frears's judgement is less conservative 
than my own; 1 could be wrong. Maybe, 
too, I'm being sentimental about the 
woman the character is based on, a 
more digni^ and sensitive person than 
the one signified by the corset. 

We shoot the eviction and exodus from 
the waste ground. With the trailers and 
caravans whirling in the mud and dust, 
the bulldozers crashing through shops, 
lifting cars and tossing them about, the 
strawy kids waving flags and playing 
music as the police and heavies invade 
and evict them, it is like a western! 
Frears runs among it all, yelling instruc- 
tions through a megaphone. 

It is touc^ on Shashi. India's premier 
actor, a god to millions, is impersonating 
a torturer having a nightmare while 
bouncing on a bed in the back of a 
caravan which is being wildly driven 
around a stony waste groi^ in a 
snowstorm. Books scatter over his 
head. When he emerges, shaken and 
stirred, dizzy and fed up, he threatens to 
go back to Bombay. Tlie next morning, 
when we tell him as a joke that we have 
to reshoot his scene in the back of the 
caravan, he goes white. 

It is obvious that he has a difScult 
part The character of Rafi is complex 
and contradictory and he has to play 
agEunst many different kinds of diaorac- 
ter. Shashi is not used to making films in 
EngBsh and the part is physically deman- 
ding. But with Us modesty, generosity 
and unEnglish liking for women, he is 
the most adored person on the film. 


U MARC H 1987 

It seems to me that ShasU is going to 
turn out to be very good, portraying a 
complex and dangerous character,' a 
murderer and a man eager to be loved, a 
populist and an didst Ftears » cardSo^ 
and patiently teasing out the power and 
subtlety in ShasU getting Urn to act 


64 



BOOK EXTRACT 


simply and underplay everything. You 
can see the performance developing 
take by take. After eight or nine takes 
Shashi is settled, a little tired and bored, 
more casual and relaxed. Now he is able 
to throw the scene away. And this is 
when he is at his best, though he himself 
prefers the first few takes when he 
considers himself to be really 'acting'. 

Ayub mqaroving .oo. He is inexperi- 
ence as an actor (it is of course difficult 
for Asian actors to gain experience), but 
Oliver is doing a wonderftil job in making 
him look like a matinde idol. The balance 
of the script has gone against Sammy. It 
is Rafi and Rosie that Fve developed as 
there is more scope for conflict with 
them. Sammy doesn’t believe in a great 
deal, so it’s hard to have him ffisagree 
mudh with anyone. His confusion isn't 
particularly interesting. Rosie is a more 
complex character and harder to write, 
especially as she isn't a character I've 
written before. 



Shashi Kapoor (left) with Ayub Khan Ofn : father-ton relationahip explored 


9 APRIL 1987 

Filming in the cellar of a pub in Kew. 
Cramp^ and dusty; the lights keep 
going out. Claire, whose performance 
until now has been, rightly, contained, 
starts to reveal her power in this cellar 
scene with Shashi. Furiously jerking 
things out of the suitcase she packed 
thirty years ago, and shoving the whole 
I lot on the floor, she rev^s such a 
I combiriation of uild anger, vulnerability 
I and pain, that when the camera cut, 
there was complete silence. Even 
Shashi looked shadcen. It was especially 
difficult for her as the Ghost was in the 
scene as well, standing at her elbow. 

10 ^Ri^i9j^ 

We spend the day in a South Kensington 
restaurant fihn^ the confrontation 
scene between Ro^, Rafi and Sammy 
when they go out to dinner. This is the 
pivotal scene of the movie. It starts off 
simply. The three of them are at the 
table; the violinists play a littie Mozart in 
die background, die drag queen sHs 
behind tli^ But the violinists have 
extraordinary feces: Engifeh features, 
pale shoulders (ready to be painted by 
Ingres), Pre-Raphaelite hair, and after 
tmive solid hours of fiddling, very worn 

As the day progresses Shashi and 
Franoes become more heated in their 
argument The playing of the violinists 
becomes more frenzied. The drag queen 
doesavery exa^ierated flounce. Shashi 
eats a Anger made totn sausage meat 
and qats out the nail, putting it politely 
on the aide U the plate. 

I can aee Fkears's knagjnatkm racing 


as he uses these few elements to their 
fullest and most absurd effect. He be- 
comes increasingly inventive, his control 
and experience allowing him to play. I 
am a little afraid the scene will be 
drowned in effects, but I did write the 
sceneinasimilar spirit putting the people 
in the restaurant and experimenting until 
something came of it. 

Of course, the conditions of Frears's 
creativity are Afferent from mine. Alone 
in a room 1 can take my time and rewrite 
as often as I like. 1 can leave the scene 
and rewrite it in two v *ek 8 ’ time. For 
Frears in that small restaurant crowded 
with seventy people there is no way of 
going back on the scene. It has to be 
done there and then and it has to work. 
It takes a lot of nerve to play with a 
scene under those conditions, espedally 
as the medium is so ridicutously expen- 
sive. 

I notice how comfortaNe Frances is in 
her part now. She has discovered who 
she is playing; and that is sometl^ you 
find out only in the course of filming. But 
unlike the theatre, there's never another 
opportunity to integrate later discover- 
ies into ekiier scenes. 

18 APRIL 1987 

Big day. First rou^ assembly of the 
film. I meet the editor, Mick Audsley, 
who is pulling the film on a trolley in its 
numerous sUver cans throu^ the 
streets. It's 110 minutes long* he says. 
As it’s a rough-cut the film is a little fike a 
home movie, with the sound coming and 
going; and course thero's no music. 

We watch it in a smali viewing theatre 
off Tottenham Court Road. The first 
forty minutes are encouraging and 


absorbing and we laugh a lot Shashi is 
excellent: both menacing and comic, 
though his performance seems to lack 
subtlety. I am elated all the same. Then 
it begins to fell apart. My mind wanders. 
I can't follow the story. Entire scenes, 
which seemed good in themselves at the 
time of shooting, pass without register- 
ing. They bear no relation to each other. 
It is the centre of the fibnl'mref erring to: 
the party, the 'fuck* night, the morning 
after, the breakfests. Towards the end 
the film picks up again and is rather 
moving. 

T4~jlUI-Y~i987 

A showiiq of Sammy and Rose at nine in 
the morning. Frears and Audsley have 
been working all weekend, justing with 
bits and pieces. It seems coni^te, 
except for some music which has been 
put on over the cellar scene and seems 
to dissipate the power of Claire's per- 
formance at that point. Otherwise the 
film works powerfully, with a lot of soul 
and kick. We talk ateut how much has 
back in and Frears says how foolish 
it seems in retrospect to have taken out 
80 much and then put it back. But of 
course that process of testing was 
essential, a way of finding out wto was 
necessary to Ae film and what not 
We stand outside the cutting room in 
Wardour Street and Frears says: Well, 
that’s it then, that’s finished, we’ve 
made the best film we can. I won't see it 
Again, he adds, or maybe Fll run it ajpin 
in five years or something. Let's just 
hope people like it 


Fibtr (LMdDM. UK 

ki MB by OmM UnivanMy Pint 


in JnMiy igaaOoyyiWilCHaiiNHnliNIflW 


65 





Travelogiie 

Madras 

Cartoonist Ravi Shankar’s tongue-in-cheek 
account of Madras society 




I t was raining in Madras. It they are mourning an epoch of vast fingers, her slim ankles have silver 

shouldn't. The city was retching Dravidian spaces. anklets. The sunlight through the rain 

from deep within its uneasy Suddenly, from beyond the rain and catches tlK stone in her nose in a 
bowels, and the rainwater the grey buildings, pirouetting through diamond fHdcer. 

slushing through the narrow over- the miserable streets, dances forth the If Calcutta is a dying dty, Madras is a 
flowing culverts was dark with filth. Carnatic clumes of a temple bell. For a dead one. And how the corpse s^s! 

Small tired streets, with old colonial moment, the rain becomes melodious Butt the difference is, Madi^ believes 

names like Adam's Road or Addison's and cleansing, there is a whiff of jasmine in 1^ after death. Somewhere there is 

Road, smelling amorphously of wet and, sandal. And stepping nimbly along ' mi incessant groping towards inunortal- 
linen, rotting bananas and a thousand the swirling cesswater along the broken, ity* a continuous desire to elapse into 

other things looked shabbier when laun- brittle roads is a girl with an umbrella, legend, and the need to magnify. Small 

dered by the rain. The sleepy cows, hair, gfisteninf? Iflite a crow's wing, two storey structures bearing the 
sheltering on the damp shop verandahs knd long, tias the morning's flow- legend Kasturi Sundaram BuOdings, a 

meditated on the potholes, llie huddled ers. is the colour of honey. Her commonplaoe stretch of road named 

two storey houses, darkening mellowly, eye.& vlack , with kM, She has Thousand Lights... Nearly every road 

like debauches in decline, looked as if gathered sari in her slim has a statue, of heroes obscure and 


66 


•UNMY 17-43 jMWHy 1338 



important, guv ding the days and nights 
in concrete stillness. Madras is probably 
the only city in the world with a statue of 
a man not yet dead — Kaninanidhi. 
Karunanidhi shares the dubious honour 
with Idi Amin — except that both are out 
of power, fortunately the comic compari- 
son stops there. Anna- 
durai, with his back to- 
wards the sea, Ramaswa- 
mi Naicker frozen on 
Mount Road, even a Brit- 
ish monarch; nowhere is 
the alphabet of history 
more clearly visualised on 
pedestals. In Madras, his- 
tory seems to have 
slowed its pace some- 
what, and another tribut- 
ary seems to have begun. 

Someone wrote that 
while the British have 
clubs, the Indians have 
caste. While Independ- 
ence and the twentieth 
century has taken its toll 
on urban Madras, even 
today, at the clubs you 
have to wear shoes, and if 
you go to someone's 




HCalGiMiba<i)ftagci4ffMidniba 
Mona. Andhiar flu eaipaaaltaki! 
Bull ths dNferaict bp IMiw 


^ house to listen to Chemman- 
^ gudi and sip buttermilk in chan^pagne 
glasses, you have to leave your slippers 
outside. 

But the stranger is overwhelmed by 
the mega-cutouts. They are everywhere 
in Madras, tm each street and nxKlway, 
phosphorescent and huge, painted with 
pownrful cokMir. Rajnikanth thirty feet 
taU, snarling through red lips and holding 
a ten foot long pistol, Ambka like a 
sensual ogress in Bharatnatyam ooif- 
fere, Kamalahasan pouting with large 
saucerlike eyes, which have a radius of 
four feet each...ln real life, 1 imagine 
RajnikanUi can't be more than five four 


b|find| ind thu Mud to 

six, Kamalahasan is certainly short, 
while the girls are all small and petite. 

When 1 met Raja, who is five foot 
four, I asked him what he got out of 
painting the cutouts. 

'*Money is not the thing, sir,” he said, 
"'I'm an artist. Big men have big posters. 

I help the small men share it.” 

There is even a museum of film 
costumes. Sequinned and patterned with 
gold threads and filigree, shimmering 
gowns and many plumed turbans, jade- 
jewelled crowns and multicoloured 
feathers, they have adorned the frames 
of MGR, Sivaji Ganesan and their lead- 
ing ladies. Other femoub actors have 
also donated their costimi^^s, and NTR is 
one of them. But the crown Nl'R wore 
as Lord Rama is now worn by Arun 
Govil in the idiot box Ramayana-it was 
NTR's gesture to Ramanand Sagar; so 
what if—Ram Senior is acting in politics 
now, Ram Junior will relive NTR's days 
once more. Uneasy must lie the head 
that is wearing somebody else's crown. 

Fven politics is dictated by folklore. 
EiSomewhere the genetic memory of 
the horseman and the damsel, carried 
down by generations of folk th^tre has 
still survived in the Tamil conscious- 
ness. It has been transmuted into the 
burlesque and caricature — MGR, 
Jayabdidia, and of late the IPKF. I 
remembered an evei^ many years 
ago, when 1 was passing through Mad- 
ras. The dty was full ^ tricol^ ban- 
ners. There were towering cutouts of 
Kmarai, Sivaji Ganesan and Indira Gan- 
dhi. Ma^ beadi was festive, the old 
lamp posts had flags and taranms, the 
tricolour podium was full of flowers. The 
sea shimmered with ligbts. Mrs Gandhi 
was in Madras. 

"Let’s go and hear her speak,” my* 


aUNIMV 17~C3 JtfMwy 1tt8 


friend said. 

The sands of Marina was a sea of 
people. They cheered while the white 
ambassador cars sped into the enclo- 
sure, they cheered while Sivaji Ganesan 
and Mrs Gandhi climbed up the podium. 
It was surreal, with the sea thundering 
gently like vast applause, the lights of 
the dock fer away, the children perched 
on the boats which looked like skeletal 
arks, and the night coming gently over 
the sea like a gathering wing. And in the 
centre, on the well-lit stage, sat the 
actor in white and a small woman who 
was very powerful. 

Then Sivaji Ganesan started to 
speak. Each gesture was a prelude to 
ovations, each inflection of voice was an 
omen of applause. He spoke with mytho- 
logical dra^, how the Indian National 
Congress grew up in the banyan shade 
of the great Kamaraj. And Indira Gandhi 
sat looking out to the sea. 

The crowd thundered with the waves, 
the beach had become a theatre. Then 
Mrs Gandhi stood up to speak. She 
stood there, bright against the night, a 
small woman in silk, her grey streak of 
hair looking like a wave. 

**Vanakkam/' she said in chaste 
Tamil, with folded hands. 

Even today, the memory numbs me. 
There was scattered applause, and the 
crowd started getting to their feet. At 
first, in twos and threes, they started 
leaving, and soon it became an exodus. 
All the while, the Prime Minister was 
speaking. Mrs Gandhi cut short her 
speech and left. Later, I sat with my 
friend on one of the wrought iron 
I benches under the asoka trees in the 



dark park on the beach. The stage 
looked lonely because it was brightly lit. 
Suddenly we were aware of people near 
us, we were aware of the sound of 
running water. My friend lrx)ked around 
in wonder, and was still for a moment. 
Then she started to laugh wildly. 

All along the park, on either side, 
people were standing like ghosts. And 
the sound of water was — they were 
pissing. 1 have not encountered a stran- 
ger exorcism. 

Today, if you walk along Marina 
beach, among the cricket playing chil- 
dren and the picknickers with stainless 
steel 'tiffin-carriers’, the evening can still 
be preposterous. 

You can meet the young man with the 
portable computer sitting on the sand. 
For ten rupees, he will tell you your 
fortune. Or you may come across the 
Revival meetings on the beach, con- 
ducted by a fierce priest who they say 
can make the crippled walk, the blind 
see and the deaf hear. 

’’Does he walk on water as well," 1 
asked a believer, “this fisher of men?" 

He was not amused. 

But as the evenings darken, and if you 
are stiO sitting watching the waves climb 
up, suddenly, there may materialise, like 
a small djinn, a little dark man. He has an 
oily, ingratiating smile. 

“Want a figure, sir?” he asked me in a 
low musical voice. 

1 couldn't understand the arithmetic. 

“Good figure, sir," the numerologist 
explained, “only eif^teen years old sir. 
Is a college girl, sir.” 

While whores were rampant on the 
Madras streets until a few years ago, 
pimping is still discreet. Once upon a 
time, the massage parlours rubbed 
shoulders with respectable establish- 
ments on nearly every street Now all 1 
could find were a couple of them, one of 
which was mysteriously named Merlin 
Massage Parlour. Sir Lancelots and 
other lights sat around a round table 
chatting up the ladies, and some kept 
going in and coming out of curtained 
cubicles. Finally King Arthur came, a 
small pot-bellied man with a mocking 
moustache, and asked one of the girls, 
“What is happet^?” 

The answer dissatisfied him, and he 
got into an autorickshaw and galloped 
away into the night. 

But Sri Muruga Muni was different. 
He was dressed in saffron, and had black 
long hair and a beard that reached down 
to his chest. He is a vegetarian, a 
teetotaller, and a celibate who does yoga 
every morning. 

“1 am not a pimp," he said, “1 only 
oblige my friends. 1 do puja every day for 
two hours." 



Ilii iliiii|6r b ovtnvhdiii^ 
llNP<llliNlliiiilll]MUmin ullTy IM 
Wli iniilRf rai Md 

iMtItfBnAi A Siam SajiS nlsSrifel AHtUkA 

nOliPI 1 1M nNn mlg pmylf 

■naMMUilograiih 


Narrow, ill-lit streets behind Mount 
Road, small two storey buildings with 
the whitewash piling off. There are 
shadows in the grimy alleys, and behind 
doors. On the top floors, some curtained 
windows are lit. 

“Some of the big actresses were 
familiar with these streets," Muni said 
with a strange smile, “but even today, 
they remember me. When I visit their 
houses, they treat me like a holy man." 

“If you are a holy man," I said, “isn't 
pimping a sin?" 

Muni looked at me with compassion. 

“You are only a journalist, my friend," 
he said, “you will not understand. The 
entire film indus^ is pimping. In life, 
everything is piqa, even pimping." 


pottHtigwHhhtytiMCfift 

We were driving along in his white 
Ambassador which had dark glasses. 
“I’m in the film industry," Sri Muruga 
Muni said, “and the &ai industry is a 
sinful place. Look, this is where they 
make blue films." 


B ut nothing is pimped better in 
Madras than culture. At the Music 
Academy, the nucleus of Madras aesthe- 
tics, a child prodigy was singing. The hall 



^ *■ ' ^ ^ p.. i x" yC 


68 



PLACES 


was fidl. There men m white 
and silk jubbaa, the women seemed 
made of Kancheepuram silk and di- 
amonds. There were a few safari suits 
and salwar kameetea as well. On the 
hi^ stage with the digital display, on a 
small dais, a small boy was sitting. One 
could hardly see him behind the mic- 
rophone. He looked sfi if he was in his 
eariy teens, his eyes were luminous and 
his forehead was bright with sandal. 
Behind him, sat the famous mridangist. 

“There, the music-contractor," my 
friend nudges me, "he is the one who is 
making money out of the boy." 

The concert was about to begin. The 
boy looked hesitantly at the mridangist. 
The famous man beamed approval. 
Throughout the concert one felt that the 
music was stagemanaged, and the singer 
a puppet. The child's genius was undeni- 
able, but there was a flaw. 

"Madras has a music mafia," my 




14 ^ 





fivi itarhoWiijfoucinbi 
6iiliitrin6d by I yoiiii ifri dnctaf 
Dhtfilnityiiniifliliyoulii^ 
ioiip.1lfiprabiblytii»lll^^ 

inicniraip niyiiiMiiiiii|^8vgii 

MdudhM b 

friend said, **we call them the music 
paediatricians." 

Many established musicians patronise 
child prodigies. Then the sabhas and the 
music dons take over, and the boy is 
given a crash course, and programmed 
to sing for the audience. Instead of 
becoming a musician, he is made into a 
performer. And when the child prodigies 
perform, the halls are full. It is a strange 
phenomenon, because the musical aud- 
ence of Madras is extremely snooty, 
their idea of comic relief is to go watch 
Yesudas sing classical ti sic. And the 
sabhas and the agents uv.de the profit, 
and the child singer is left with mere 
pocket money. 

"It has become so bad that many big 
musicians are going around maternity 
wards," my friend said cynically, "and 
when they hear a newborn wail, they 
nod their heads wisely and try to put him 
on stage." 

In feet culture is big business. At the 
five-star hotels, you can be entertained 
by a young girl dancing Bharatnatyam 
while you have chicken soup. 

"It’s probably the Madras idea of a 
cabaret,” my friend said, "even seduc- 
tion is culture.” 

But seduction, on the face of it, seems 

to be a low priority in Madras. The 
women don't seem to care how they 
look, and the chic ones wear flowers in 
their hair with jogging suits, when they 
go out to dinner. On the roads, most of 
them are S. Kumar or Garden Vareli. 

"Why should women doll up for 
voyeurs?" a serious college ^1 asked 
me, "besides we have a tradition." 

I shut up. I am scared of feminists. 
But when I met Chandralekha, with her 
silver hair and dancer's gait, in her house 
beside the sea I felt a lot easier. 


"Don't talk to me about feminism, I 
dislike almost all women," I said, "ten 
me about Madras." 

"In Madras, aU the feminists are 
men," said Chandralekha. 

Madras has an obsession with fire, 
nearly all the suicides prefer to immolate 
them^ves here. 

Outside, on Elliot's Beach, the old 
crumbling tomb looks like an astronaut's 
debris. Junkies go there to smoke beside 
the sea. But in the mornings, you come 
across many people wsdking briskly, and 
some have sticks in their hands to scare 
away curious, disrespectable dogs. 
Then you know you are in the midst of 
the Beachwalkers Association of 
Madras. 

"What do the Beachwalkers do?" 

"They walk on the beach." 

"Is that afl?" 

"WeU someone asked one of the 
beachwalkers what he did," my friend | 
said, "and he said, *1 do walking, talking ' 
and fixed deposits."' 

But sometimes a Beachwalker may 
step on another kind of fixed deposit cm 
the beach. Anyone could do that any- 
where in Madras. So if you feel tlie urge 
anytime, there are small ui^retentious 
yellow buildings called Public Conveni- 
ences. They are manned by well dres- 
sed men and women. It costs you only 
twenty five paise. Of late, these PCs, as 
they are called, have been hit by inflation 
too. Prices have gone up unofficially, the 
attendants take bribes. One has to eat 
too, I guess. 

The Indian Express protested against 
this corruption in low places, and the 
printer’s devil obliged with a gem of a 
howler: “Corporation officials said, the 
staff manning the PCs are required to 
work in two shits..." "In this city 
everyeme eats at home," a friend said, 
"and shits outside." 

In Madras everyone entertains at 
home. The elite are mostly communists, 
or at least left of centre. They have 
American wives and Genman shepherds, 
they sit around in drawing rooms which 
look like museums, in designer jeans and 
homespun, listening to a T.N. Krishnan 
record, sipping Scotch and milk, and 

discuss someone called Herbert Mar- 

cuse in hushed voices. My friend calls it 
airconditioned communism. And the 
sharp pretty women in silent silk and 
unassumingly expensive jewelry talk ab- 
out the choreographic difference be- 
tween Isadora Dtmcan and Hema Malini. 
And everyone has dahi vadas for hors 
d'oeuvres, 

^ And since everyone winds up by ten 
o'clock, (oh da. I've to beachwalk in the 
morning), you wander down the de- 
serted streets looking for something to 


69 





: get you back to your hotel. Madras 
I doesn’t believe in taxis, but it doesn’t 
• believe in autorickshaws either. Many 
! drone past like malignant beetles, they 
I have mmiature pictures of naked 
; women, on their rears. You wave your 
i arms at them beseechingly, very few 
i condescend to stop. 

“But you are not going my way,’’ the 
i driver accused me in a hurt voice. 

; I apologised. 

I 'Today is Friday, ’’ another charioteer 
j said, “which means you have to pay me 
I five rupees extra.” 

“Why Friday?” 

“You're lucky it is not a Tuesday, ” the 
I man said darkly, “you might have to fork 
! out eight rupees extra.” 

I And if at last you get into an autorick- 
I shaw, you start longing for your insur- 
j ance agent. After a while you Jong for 
: your Smith & Wesson. 

I “All the autodrivers in Madras have 
I gone crt'izy,” a wild-eyed man said, 

! “after they saw Vijay Amritraj in Ocfo- 
I pussy/* 

And if you complain to a policeman, he 
I will ask you for a cigarette. He will agree 
i with you tliat mysterious are the ways of 
I autoricksliaw drivers. But after all he 
I was a poor traffic cop, and I should 
! understand. 1 did. lYie Madras traffic 
I policeman is a cartoonist’s delight. He is 
always lean and curved inwa^s at the 
waist, he has a fierce moustache on a 
small dark face. He wears white mus- 
keteer's cloves, and ends up looking like 
both a swimming pool attendant and a 
l^tin American generalissimo. 

“I will try to do something, sir,” said 
the policeman, “meanwhile, can 1 have a 
cigarette?” 

“Go ride a horse,” 1 said and took a 
bus. Hie buses are sexist You can’t sit 
j beside a woman, even if half the seat is 
empty. And somehow, exhibitionistical- 
ly, they all prefer window seats. Any- 
way, in Madras you can’t sit beside a 
woman anywhere, unless you are lier 
husband or her pimp. 

“It’s all so segregated,” someone 
said, “that in Madras nobody fornicates. 
They all pollinate.” 

Fornication or pollination, Madras has 
no night life. Even the discotheques, 
which are negligible, open only on 
weekends. One thing I found out was, 


they have a morning life instead. The 
elite go to Rayer’s (^e in Mylapore to 
have kllis at seven am. Eating out in 
Madras, surprisingly, can be quite sur- 
prising. There has b^n an explosion of a 
type of restaurants called Military 
Hotels. They are all run by ex- 
servicemen wearing ash and sandal 
paste on their foreh^ds. There you can 
have a ten course meal from crab to beef 
on banana leaves, for as cheap as thirty 
rupees. Though the butter chicken has 
started its invasion into the South, you 
can still get an authentic meal at small 
restaurants like the Kalpaka off Roypet- 
ta, where they even serve you on the 
terrace. But the migrating Malayalis are 
the henchmen of f^ in Madras. Like 
mushrooms, there have sprouted in- 
numerable tea-shops called 'Nair kadas’ 
(Nair teashops) by the contemptuous 
Madrasi. And Madras boasts of pro'oably 
the only vegetarian Mexican restaurant 
in the world— the owners, 1 believe, 
were sick of idlis and sambar. 



Tlw 6 lli M niOilly CORNINIll^ 

bill liH of cinlrai Ihiy hivi 
AnmlcinwIviiMidGiniM 

liMpiMnni iiii)f Ml 

diilinir iommd homi^ 
Scotch Hid nlKi Mid dbcmi 


ipiNioiii edibd Mi^birt Rdmmi h 
^bHhid vibiiilliiflHMidoriiK 


I t is the city of irony. If you want to 
shop ’phoren’. go to Burma Bazar. 
You can get anything from smuggled 
cigarettes to VCRs. It is bang in front of 
the Customs office. Or if you drive into 
Kodambakkam, once notorious, now 
seedy, you notice the innumerable ka- 
rate schools, and the stuntmen waiting 
for callsheets at the Stuntmen’s Associa- 
tion. You can wander into the music 
studio of Yesudas and see the banyan 
I tree which the singer nurtured on milk 
and film songs, wl^e outside the water 
tankers roll by. You can drive past the 
huge, architectural nightmares called 
Kalyanamandapams where everyone in 
Madras these days gets married, and 
starve afterwards.lt is so expensive. Or 
if you want to propitiate your an cestral 
spirits, go to Kapeeleswaran Temple, 
v^ere pundits wait with shraddha kits. 
Depending on the money you pay, 
salvation can last anything from ten 
minutes to one hour. 

I spent the evening in a little cottage 
by the sea in a resort called the Fisher- 
man’s Cove. If you walk along the sand, 
you come across remains of an old Dutch 
fort, the crumbling black stones remind 
you of a harsher past. 

Driving back to the dty, through the 
backwaters and the stark green spaces, 
with the sea wind breathing in the 
paddy, and the swaying blade pabns, 
only the telephone poles remind you that 
you are not a time traveller. Near 
Adayar, across the river, was a new 
concrete bridge. Beside it was an older 
unused bridge, built by British en- 
gineers. Grass and roadflowers grew on 
it. Suddenly I noticed that at both ends 
of the new bridge, beside the welcoming 
arches, on pedestals, there were two 
large griffin like creatures, with savage 
; snarling smiles. They were statues of 
the iT^'.the sabre tooth guardian crea- 
tures of Dravidian mythology. Like 
some strange familiar, the vyaha wel- 
comed the stranger into twentieth cen- 
tury’s Madras. But if you knew the 
secret incantations of chenthamizht the 
dead language of the andents, there is a 
door somewhere which will take^ to 
the past And the ancients of Madras 
probably believe, that the past will come 
back once the future is over. 


70 












Return 
of the native 

I ( >1 h. '//(',/''( // '( h I !j' i ^ ' >y i ('1 1 1 1 { I h ' h'i'H 

.n ii < ' ; m /. ' •> i! :':tiv<' ()\ulilh ni 

//; n\ ni ar.'iU! nui'\ i‘\. 

( f !IJ, \ iPii ' l'^ iil I ' !iil\ PIP iiP: ,//(■/■ 

h V >p I! !hi\ V 



S he is a tall, dusky woman, 
wide eyed and alert, her 
manner shy yet straightfor> 
ward. She smiles. Laughs, 
jumps and turns before her 
enthralled audi^ce. Holding a tamboora 
m one hand and gesticulating with the 
oOier, she sings and acts out the story of 
the epic Mahabharata verse by verse, 
missing out on nothing. With a kaleido- 
scope of emotions^tears, anguish, fury 
and grace — ^she runs throuf^ every 
event of the epic, whirling from one 
character to another, at one moment, 
Draupadi, in the nesct instant, any of the 
Pandavas or the Kauravas. And in each 
role she is more convincing than in the 
last She is Teejan the 6nest living 
exponent of the traditional Parx/wanf folk 
form, which has for ages been used to 
act and sing the ballads of the vakant 
Pandavas to rustic audiences across the 
dusty breadth of the Indian subconti- 
nent 

Teejan Bai is part of the present day 
success story of Indian folk theatre. Her 
success testifies to the resurrection of 


SowiM from popular pmrfprmwioos: 
iww natloiwl Intafost 


r 



history, llie serious exponents and 
students of folk arts, however, ar^' 
increasingly asking the question: wiU 
Indian folk theatre wilt before modern 
audiences and conditions, far removed 
from their original habitat? 

For the moment, however, not tool 
many people, least of all the folk theatre^ 
exponents themselves are bothered abM 
out the troubling question. And for good ; 
reason too. Folk theatre is, for the first 
time, being accorded a degree of patron- 
age ealier reserved solely for the serious 
classical arts. It's time to make hay while 
the sun shines. Teejan Bai, for instancOt 
has no intention of retiring to her native | 
Chbattisgarh. Having come a long way ' 
from her first public performance in the | 
tiny village of C/iu/ik/iooriinChhattisgarh, 
she has performed before appreciative | 
audiences in Bhopal, Allahabad, Madras, 
Calcutta, Kliajuralio^ the Sangeet Natak i 
Academy, the National School of Drama 
and in the Apna IJtsav. She has partici- 
pated in theF estival of India in France, 
and has performed in England and 
Switzerland. Not bad going for a woman, 
who after her marriage at the age of 
would nr)rmally have been yoked to a 
back-breaking rustic life. Her husband, 
Tukaram, would beat her for performing 
before crowds and ultimately forced her 
to leave home. In any other era, Teejan 
Bai would have been doomed but the 
new national interest in folk theatre 

Suprlys Dsvl: iwNdilng over 
liromspf— nio/tini 



(UlO SoumNra CMlHlas; IHM 


I nOIH fl pHy* fWIW Ol lOM W 


folk theatre, which had for centuries 
been consigned to the rural backwaters 
of the subcontinent and dismissed as 
part of the crude, primitive traditions not 
worthy of the connoisseur's attention. 
Today, all that is fast changing aa this 
half-forgotten art form climbs out of the 
pits and into the glare of urban m^ss 
audiences. Pundits, critics am. £di-^' 
enccs forever on the lookout for 
entertainment,are taking a harder look at 
this quaintyet inspiring traditional form 
that has endured the vicissitudes of 




Folk theatre is being 


f^fihrtheseiions 



PERFORMING ARTS 



A ImmnI danet parformanea; piRaatIno rhythma 


ensured a remarkable future. She now 
lives with her three children and is 
employed by the Bhilai Steel Plant 
where she idves paiidawani lessons in 
its cultural centre. 

Good times are here for thousands of 
other folk theatre artistes as well. Uttar 
Pradesh alone is estimated to have over 
300 nautanki groups employing over 
5,000 people. Najtanki' sTeejan Bai is 
the veteran Gulab Bai of Kanpur, who 
began her singing and dancing career at 
the age of eleven. She founded the 
Gulab llieatre company and has been 
showered with awards, including the UP 
Sangeet Natak Academy awards, sever- 
al gold medals and manpatras. Tradition- 
al nauUiiiki was a rather crude and 
elementary theatre form using L-^wdy 
humour and dances to keep v illa ge* 
audiences in high spirits. A standard 
feature was the use of a four-line verse 
called tchoubola and its accompanying 
reply, bahtv-e-TuhU, both rendered as 
songs and mingled with the strains of 
f^hazals and qawalis. 

Hut tuday, nautanki is undergoing a 
remarkable transf<jrmation,due partly to 
competition and partly due to the in- 
volvement (if serious writers and 
artistes. Contemporary theatre has 
some fine e.\amples of creative adapta- 
tions such as Tendulkar’s Ghasitam 
AoHva/and the Northern Indian Theatre 
Festival winner. Umiil Kurnar Tha- 
pliyaPs Harish Chandra Ki Ladai. I'ha- 
pliyal has also innovated the Nagari 
Nautanki, which is a short performance 
dealing with contemporar)’ problems. 
Film-maker Muzaffar All made the film 
Laila Majnu in nautanki style, in which 
Gulab Bai’s daughter Kckha and actor 
Anupam Kher play the pnncipal roles. 
But as in other folk theatre forms, 
contemporary urban influences in 
nautanki have been insidiously diluting 
the original form. 

Gulab Bai and other traditionalists 
lament that modem nautanki i.s nowhere 
near th-'' “real thing” and that folk art 
training centres should be established to 
teach young aspirants the traditions of 
the original form. As a first step, they 
say, a comprehensive survey of rural 
theatre should be undertaken to identify 
the problem areas and then suggest 
measures to nurture it. The traditional- 
ists might, however be fighting a losing 
battle. 

T he resurrection of any traditional art 
form cannot be a mixed blessing. 
Similarly, folk theatre in its different 
genres might have been energised and 
rejuvenated with exposure, but some 
Have predictably, lost out in the new 
high. Festivals of India, for instance, 
held in various continents have provided 


enormous exposure for unknown 
artistes. At the same time, this expo- 
sure has also damaged le art of many. 
Rajeev Sethi, w'ho is olved with the 
setting up of folk theatre co-operatives, 
recalls a bizarre example of how' expo- 
sure can sometimes nun an artiste: a 
male dancer would act as a truly 

beautiful woman by smearing his face 
with choona (lime), and when Sethi .saw' 
the same man years later in Swt‘den, 
“he had rubbed in great amounts of 
rouge and lip.stick. having discarded the 
older style, and managed to look like a 
transvestite*'. 

Others complain of slick c’ulture czars 
exploiting naive folk theatre artistes lor 
their own ends. Teejan Bai, for instance, 
complains about Habib Tanvir, rtccusing 
him of behaving like “a thekedar who 
uses us artistes like labourers. By taking 
a few artisle.s to the city he feels he is 
doing them a great favour. But he is 
really insensitive to their needs and their 
art and is only interested in hogging the 
limelight”. Adds writer ,Sabina Sehgal: 
"Teejan Bai is suspicious of urban scho- 
lars like Tanvir coming and pottering 
around with the artistes of Chaffi.s- 
garh — though an illiterate. Teejan Bai's 
words have flashes of wisdom.” 

Sethi also complains about the degen- 
erative tendencies in the jatra and 


tamasha theatre forrn.s. ”Man\ jatra 
and tamafiha |)t*rforniaiices today are 
iinualive, degenerating to copied ot films 
which to start with were reallv .in 
electronic extension of lolklore. When 
what is purely done for loy is converted 
to tan urban) stagt^ porkirmance. sonn'- 
thing comes and Munething .ilso g(»es liui 
of it”. Ashok C-hakiadliar. a p*.,ywriglit 
associated with nautanki point ^ (mh: 
“You have to capture the perioiiner iii 
his ow'H en\ironmenl u» arousi* ilu^ 
viewer's intere.'^t. The heal of the 
nagara originally meant be lu-.nd Iw 
an entire village without micropha'nes 
shakes up the whole television .studio. 
Similarly, condensing iht' jlaaf) to fit a 
television r.cht^dule dilutes tiie etiect ui 
the performance and cuts into the 
atliste's psyche." 

But despite a certain degree ol cor- 
ruption that is inentable in the procc.cs 
of evolution, the vibrant life ot lruii.in folk 
theatre is verv much evident in the 
conliiuiiiig expression of such lomis as 
nautanki, tavani, taniatiha. i.nni. And 
though the need tor a greati r deegree of 
intelligent government patronage and 
financial support for these original folk 
fomis and their practitioners is in- 
creasingly being felt, urban patrons are 
also conscious of their vital responsibility 
to ensure that ancient traditions are not 


•UNOAV 17— 23 Januaiy 1W8 


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PERFORMING ARTS 


diluted or corrupted by incongruous or 
spurious experimentations. 

But innovation does necessarily have 
to be bad. Professional groups such as 
the Bhada, Nat, Gandharva, Vairagi, and 
Binkara have begun moving away from 
traditional mythological themes to give 
expression to stKial protest, dissent, 
satire and political comment in contem- 
porary genres lil'e fehavai (Gujarat), 
nautanki (Uttar Pradesh), terrukuttu 
(Tamil Nadu) and veethinatakam 
(Andhra l^radesh). Puppetry, acrobatics 
and other urban foniis gracefully enter 
these depictions along with literary ideas 
and musical scores which do not detract 
from, or corrupt, the uri^»inal form. In 
the states of West Bengal and Mahar- 
ashtra, the conventional Jatra and 
tamasha have undergone notable trans- 
formation from their original rural forms, 
largely due to the active participation of 
young enthusiasts. Says Ashok Chak- 
radhar: “With the introduction of west- 
ern instruments, lights and contempor- 
ary themes like Marxism, jafivi perform- 
ances really have become* open air 
theatre, and the only link with the older 
form is the narrator or sutnidhar who 
still remains." 


T he history of the jatra form pioves 
that there is no allomalive to change 
and evolution. In the old days, Jatra was 
the principal form of entertainment for 
the rural masses, who would collet’t in 
large numbers to watch and hear 
grotesquely made-up actors playing out 
mythological roles. Jatra w'as saved from 
extinction by a decision taken at a jatra 
conference held at the famous Shohha- 
bajar Rajbari in north Calcutta three 
decades ago. At this historic seminar, 
the exponents of Jatra w'ere divided in 
two groups: one set wanted Jatra to 
strictly adhere to its original form while 
the modernists insisted that innovations 
were necessary to prevent this folk fonn 
being swept away by the tides of Bom- 
bay filmdom. The modernist view trium- 
phed and it was decided that scripts 
should be made shorter and crisper, 
themes should depart from religion and 
mythology, and microphones, taped 
sound effects, background music and 
trick lighting should be used. One of the 
first modem palas (plays) was Hitler 
with the legendary Shantigopal playing 
the title role. Hithr was a huge success 
and inundated with offers, Shantigopal 
went on to portray Lenin, Marx, Netaji 
and Swami Vivekananda. 

That was the beginning of the jatra 
boom. Nowadays, every Bengali new 
year's day (14 April), an air of expecta- 
tion hangs over the Jatra centre of 
Chitpur Road (now Rabindra Sarani) in 



■Mni : night-long rovolry 


Calcutta, where the most sought-after 
stars are bribed with financial offers 
and kept locked up in safe houses away 
from the reach of rival Jatra companies. 
Rehearsals begin shortly thereafter and 
continue till August w'hen most siiows 
begin. 'J'he groups later take to the 
countryside in luxury coaches —and air- 
conditioned cars for the ’top artistes. 
'I'he bigger groups, like the renowned 
Natta Company owwd by Makhan Lai 
Datta, employ a vast retinue of travelling 
staff, including cooks i valets. 

Attracted by geneiuu. pay packets 
and the challenge of perfomiing before 
tens of thousands of adulating fans, 
many well-known stars of the 1 ollygunj 
screen are taking to the Jatra stage. 
Supriya Devi, Basanta Chowdhury, 
Ajitesh bandyopadhyay, Utpal Dutt, 
Anup Kumar and Apama Sen are popular 
Jatra artistes today. Among the old 
guard are Swapan Kumar, Tapan 
Kumar, Shekhar Ganguly, Rakhal 
Sinha, Bina Dasgupta, Bela Sarkar, 
Jyotsna Dutta and Tara Rani Pal. Well- 
known playback singers like Hemanta 
Mukherjee, Manna Dey and Shyamal 
Mitra had also established a near 
monopoly in the world of jatra as had 
lighting wizard of the Bengali stage, 
Tapas Sen. 

In Orissa too, jatra has taken a firm 
hold with over a 100 performing troupes 
and 25 established companies. In Mahar- 
ast'tra, on the other hand, the traditional 
tamasha form has languished, chiefly 
because it has not managed to stay 
ahead of Bombay cinema despite having 
changed forms. According to 

Madhukar Nirate, the moving spirit 
behind the Tamasha Kaiavant Vikas 
Mandir, there were 22 tamasha theatres 


in Bombay about 40 years ago, whereas 
today there is only one. The s*;uKiard 
items in a tamasha included a gan or 
prayer to Lord Ganapati. gawlan or a 
song-dance number on the life of Kiisli- 
na, rangbazi or a farce, S iwal jnwah or 
bawdy dialogues and the actual play 
known as the wag. Innovation has been 
marginal and efforts to revive this dying 
fonn by setting up govenimeni-tundcd 
training camps have met with .scant 
success. 

I'he tamasha fonn is, however, ihe 
odd man out among the suT\iYing folk 
theatre forms. Many ancient forms have 
survived without any changes, especially 
among the country's 38 million tnbal 
population — among the Guffars. Nagas, 
Oraons, Santhals and .some tribes of 
Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra. 
I'he tribal forms mainly express features 
of everyday life, beginning from fertility 
rites to hunting and sorcery. Among 
non-tribal village forms still extant are 
styles that act out stories from the 
Puranas and the Jatakas. 

Another enduring form is the yaksha- 
gana, famous along the coastal tracts of 
Karnataka. Dr K. Sivarama Karanth, the 
renowned author who has been at the 
forefront of this form’s revival, explains 
that the cs.senlial feature of yakshagana 
plays is fantasy revolving around heroes, 
gods and demons' taken from myths. 
Today, only a handful of troupes ptjrform 
free, whereas the bulk and the best of 
artistes have been organised along com- 
mercial lines. Wages of artistes and 
profits have increased dramatically in 
recent years as the form, growing more 
sophisticated, is becoming increasingly 
popular. 

But among all this progress, com- 
plaints about the purity of fonns persist. 
Purity might, however, be sterile and 
impossible to preserve. Rattam Thiyain, 
director of the National School ot Dra- 
ma, believes that “purity of form caniw)t 
be maintained because of environmental 
factors — ^if some of the folk art forms arc 
to survive at all, the performers have to 
adapt their art to suit changing audience 
demands and get access to subsidies and 
grants". In his own experimentations, 
Thiyam draws inspiration from diverse 
traditional forms and fuses them 
together to create compositions that 
have the essence of traditional folk 
forms but which evoke an ambience in 
tune with modem audience need.s. Pur, 
otherwise, he concludes, “in about a 100 
years we could have a theatre form as 
extinct as the dinosaurs, even if it had a 
glorious past". 

Sifrnatf Ul wMh RMhu UiMd^ 
BombayftMmmWtmakmrtM^ thM 
ami biiraau raportt 


UNMV JMiwy f M 


77 


SUNDAY SPORTS 


CrickeFs hottest d ebate 

Will neutral umpiring help avert charges of favouritism? 

Not everyone thinks so 

ence of the Pakistaii captain. What could 


J ust as the penultimate over of the 
second day of the Faisalabad Test 
between Kn^land and Pakistan 
appeared to be running to its 
unevenlhil end, it happened. The 
England captain Mike Gatting informed 
batsman Salnn Malik that he was bring- 
ing David Capel in from lung leg. Eddie 
Hemmings started his skippety hop to 
the bow'ling crease. Gatting finding that 
Capel had conic in far enough, signalled 
him to stop. I'he umpire, Shakoor Kana, 
immediately motioned Gatting towards 
him. (iatting said that Kana had then 
been abusive, accusing him of cheating. 
Kana's reaction was predictable. “In 
Pakistan men have been killed for the 
sort of insult he threw at me,” said he. 

The incident had far-i caching con- 
sequences; noted cricket writer John 
W(x)dcock insisted that the tour be 
called off; The Times captioned it the 
“biggest crisis since the Bodyline 
series”. Apologies were demanded by 
both sides. With the fallout feared to be 
more political than cricketing, it was 
reported that General Zia himself 
wanted to mediate. 

Interestingly, it took two men of 
different nationalities only a few minutes 
to inspire the solution that had been 
eluding the greybeards at Ixird's for 
nearly 110 years of Test cricket: since 
the subject of neutral umpiring is most 
likely to figure in the agenda of the 
annual meeting of the International 
Cricket Conference, it would be safe to 
conclude that Test cricket is on the 
threshold of a major change. Neutral 
supervision of international matches may 
finally become a reality before 1988 is 
out. 

llie concept needs ^lanation. Let 
us suppose India is playing Pakistan and 
umpires from a thiH country, say Au- 
stralia, are invited to officiate. Tliis is 
neutral umpiring— and is not what the 
majority of the players today are in 
favour of. 'llie drawbacks of this propos- 
al are easily evident: if the main com- 
plaint against home umpires is one of 
bias and not incompetence, how doc s 
neutral umpiring ensure that the third 
country umpires will not take sides? ' 
This was experimented during htf 
third Pakistan-West Indies Test in 
Karachi in 1986; two Indian umpires 
were invited to officiate on the insist- 


have proved a . successful instance of 
neutral country umpires backfired in the 
first match its^ the umpires called off 
play for part of the last day due to bad 
li^t. The hosts were upset; one admi- 
nistrator complained to this writer 
**Saheb, af^ey umpto ne to barney 
marvaa diya (Sir your umpires have 
finished us)'*. 

It is the theory of an international 
panel of umpires which is gradually 


P.D. itaportsr: agalMt slwiglne on the fMd 



gainii^ the nod. Sir Gary Sobers, who 
was in India retorting the India-West 
Indies series, said: "Perhaps the cap- 
tains could get together and select a fist 
of eight or ten umpires to stand in Test 
matches for a calendar year. Quality will 
be ensured since the umpires will be 
chosen after a thorough scrutiny of 
abilities. More importantly, captains will 
think twice before criticising the umpires 
because they will have been chosen by 
the captains themselves.” 


WmMor his iMdft th§ 

•KMMici mifeiM. Ilie ^ 
iClionrapl^filllVi0fiinixpM6d 
Ms IniNiilkiiiit (hi tta 
tsdiiioloijM idvMCMftirt 
Ills 

of iiMiliiliid W CMwii to 
rahrlDhcaNalclowranoiitaiid 



P.D. Reporter, Indian Test uminre 
and one of &e two umpires to have been 
invited by Pakistan to supervise in 1986, 
sounded cautious about forming an inter- 
national panel. "Let us assume that this 
panel is formed,” he said, "what will be 
the ratio of umpires fixim each country? 
Since India has a bigger population than, 
say, England, would it mean that we 
would have more umpires on the panel 
than the English? The proposal is that 
this panel is to be chosen by contempor- 
ary Test captains. What if two obtains 
lose their pkK:es in the side or retire and 
their replacennents demand the induction 
of two or three new umpibres? More 
importantly, if two countries did not 
have tours for a couple of seasons, then 
what would the umpires, who would 
have otherwise stood in their countries, 
do?” 

Ap^ from this, there can be other 
pntftical problems regarding the interna- 
tkmalpaneL Since the umpires from this 
would stand in matches in, say, 
how would we be able to blood w 
second string? How would the ability of 
our younger umpires be lecognM? 

•UNOAV 17--23 Janutfy ^ 9 » 



78 


How would the inteniatiofial captains 
loiow of their ability if the junior kit wi^ 
not allowed to stand in Test matches at 
home? Besides* even if they were 
spotted in the side games on a tour and 
seiit abroad to supervise* would it then 
not be too big a leap^from Raqji Trophy 
matches to umpiring in Tests over- 
seas?” 

The headache* a<''cocdtng to Reporter* 
is not over widi that: ”It would take 
quite some time for an umpire from 
England to adiwt to the conditions in 
frMfia. This was just die case with umpire 
Dickie Bird when he stood in the Re- 
liance Cup. The October sun proved to 
be too strongfor him and Bird was most 
uncomfortable from the moment he 
landed. He had a toothache* a rurning 
nose* a sore throat and other niggling 
complaints ric^t dirough. Bird also mis- 
sed a game because he was unwell. 1 
remember the experience the Pakistani 
umpire Khizar ifayat had with Dickie 
Bird when they were officiating in a 
matdi in Sh^aL When they waUced in 
for huich* Bird was most upset. just 
cannot concentrate* he said. The crowd 
is making too much noise!’ And there 
were only 14*000 at the ground. I 
wonder how Bird* accustom^ to the 
empty cahn of the English county or 
Test grounds, would have survived in* 
say* Calcutta amidst nearly 100*000?” 
However, Reporter's pessimism thaws 
towards the end. He concedes that 
perhaps the international panel could be 
tried on an ’experimental basis’. 

I ndian umpires belong to two extremes 
in temperament Soine are mild and* 
perhaps* even timid — the *rehn9 dey ni* 
Cl et things be) type. Others are aggres- 
sive; one loose word from the players 
and they will invoke the rule book. It is 
to this second* and more direct school 
that P.D. Reporter belongs. do not 
tolerate slauic^ on the field and lose no 
time in bringing to the concerned play- 
er's attention that 1 would not want to 
hear the same offence again*” he insists. 

Former Test umpire M. V. Gothoskar 
reflected this very attitude in an inter- 
view to Sportsworfcf in 1983. "The 
umpire has been given certain powers*” 
he said. "Can he not snub the players? 
When the Englishmen were in Nagpur in 
1981-82* F1^±er* the captain* was at 
mid-off and John Lever was bowfing. 
There was an appeal for Ibw which I 
turned down. Fletcher walked up and 
asked: *Mi8ter umpire, why is that not 
out?’ I told him that it was because 1 said 
w* ordering him back to his place. 

If the kbove quotes portray the 
umpires as pedantic people who are also 
UBed to cane-swishing, then the veneer 

SlINMV Jmuwy 1086 



— — ^ aa^A aMA^asai^M 

VwSsWp RIHflWIe UptfOIBIplQ Olv WOlwOai 


wears thin. P. D. Reporter shrugs off the 
suggestion that the contemporary Test 
cricketer is a deceptive con^titor 
trying every ruse to force a decbkui in 
his favour. "What spectators identify as 
slanging in the middle is most often a 
result of the dyer’s frustration,” he 
e^lains. "And it may not necessarily be 
directed at the umpire. The bowler may 
have been toiling hard on a placid wicket 
for hours* only to find a catch being 
eventually dropped off his bowling. The 
sub^uent abuse is i«idersta^ble. 
Besides* 1 feel that mc^t players today 
are very fair with thdr appealing. Unless 
they are sure of getting an ^)peal in their 
favour they will not go all out. ^te 
often bavidm apologise for overoptimis- 
tic appeals wh^ waOdng back to their 
marks. 1 have also observed over the 
years that once a touring side has tested 
out a particular umpire during the earlier 


aba »MMwy8fwlji li i6iilW 

PMnI 8ff 88^^68 vUdi 

|iMii|l Ai iwtlrftrCteyftititf 

wi l d 8 8 1 1 * 88 .Qiilyiiaif 



matches — I mean if they have estab- 
lished that the umpire is a tou^ nut-— 
they will spare him of theatrics in the 
later matches. Of course* not all are as 
reasonable; some do not apologise after 
a wild appeal not because they feel that 
the uinpire has robbed them of a verdict, 
but to make him feel a wee bit guilty 
about it They think that once the 
umpire starts feeling guflty* there is a 
be^ dianoe of getting the next dose 
dedsion in favour of the fielding side!” 

Television has made the umpire's 
existence miserable. The slow action 
replays have often expos^ his limita- 
tions. Umpire Gothoskar insisted that 
his ol]jection was not against the replay 
Itself* but the timing, "...they should be 
telecsust only after the match ” he said. 
Umpire Reporter reacts with his usual 
couldn’t-care-less attitude. "When 1 go 
home even my children don’t spare 
me — ^'Daddy, the TV replay showed that 
you were wrong*' they say. Other vet- 
eran umpires like Swaroop Kishaii have 
to meet with the same fate. 

Technological advancement has 
prompted the demand for the use of 
miniaturised TV cameras to refer to in 
cases of dose run out and stumpy 
dedsions. Umpire Reporter is practical 
in his observation: "Firstly,” 1^ says, 
"the television replays are not very dtsr 
in our country* so they would not be of 
much use here. Besides* if one did use a 
small 'TV on the field, the batsmen and 
an the fielders could then crowd the 
umpire to check the replay themselves. 
If the dedsion turned out to be really 
dose there could even be a hot debate in 
the field—the fielders insisting that the 
batsman was out and the latter refusing 
to leave. What then?” 


Someone suggested the use oi a third 
umpire in the pavilion to veer past this 
proMem. Reporter shot back: ’Thin^ 
wfll come to a sti^ that whenever it 
would come to a tricky dedsion the two 
umpires in the field would leave the 
pn^m for the third umpire to solve* 
thereby absolving themselves of not 
only the dirtiest part of the job but much 
of the responsibflity!” 

Umpire Gothoskar recounted one of 
his most rewarding moments as an 
umpire. He had tur^ down a strong 
appeal for a catch behind the wicket and 
was walking away at the end of the over, 
when the fielder at mid-off walked up to 
him and said: "Good decision. Any other 
umpire would have given it out” 

That this is only an exception in 
today's hard world ii Test warfare is a 
pointer that the highbrows at Lord's will 


have had much to talk about before they 
say their cfaeerios in June, 


79 



Dharmendra, it seems has 
changed for the better. 'Hie 
actor who had a notorious 
reputation for getting into 
brawls at the sligtitest pro> 
vocation is now a different 
person. Despite the fact that 
he signed 50 films in 1987 
alone, Dhiuian is the epitome 
of humility when he states 
that he has only 20 films on 
hand, lliese days the actor 
shoots four shifts a day and 
doesn’rprotest even when 
i he is told about his role at the 
last minute. "I know I am not 
getting younger, ” acknow- 
ledges Dharam. Even though 
he realises that a^ is not on 
his side, he is willing to 
oblige his fans who want to 



see him on the big screen. At 
the same time, Dharam 
knows that it is time for the 
younger generation to take 
over. “It is time for the 
young boys to come up,” he 
says. It's little wonder then 
that he is taking great in- 
terest in his son , Sunny's 
career, which is currently 
going through a lean phase 
after the colossal flop of 
Dacait. One must give full 
credit to Dharam for promot- 
ing Sunny in spite of being in 
the same profession himsetf. 

I3espite the fact that Gov- 
inda is one of the most suc- 
cessful actors in recent 
times, he is stiH very inse- 
cure. He cannot forget his 
humble origins. At the mo- 
ment Govinda is busy de- 
nying rumours of his forth- 
coming marriage with co-star 
Neelam. “lam nK)re in- 


■mmwm: 


m 



terested in one or two big 
hits. Where is the time for 
love and romance? Is this the 
age to get entangled in a 
serious thing like marriage?'' 
asks the actor. Govinda says 
that he would appreciate it 
even more if these people 
talked about his performance 
in films like Hatya, Ghar 
Mein Ram Gali Mein Shy am 
and Shiv Shakti, rather than 
his alleged affairs. “But 
where are the people who 
like the good things of life? 
'Vhey only want to bite and 
bark at me but 1 am strong 
enou^ to face such dogs, ” 
asserts the angry actor. 

KIml Katkar: a big auacaaa 


V/ne person who doesn't 
believe in aging gracefully is 
Dev Anand. Despite the fact 
that he is now on the wrong 
side of 60, this 'evergreen* 
hero is hitting the gossip 
columns of magazines be- 
cause of his alleged affair 
with the 16-year-old Saaniya- 
a starlet who is busy proc- 
laiming to the world that she 
likes beiing 'raped' in every 
film and is a 'genuine' Dev 
Anand discovery! People are 
now questioning Dev Anan- 
d 's acceptance of Lashkar 
co-starring Saaniya, which is 
being directed by prople who 
do not know the basics of to 
making. There is no sign of 
Dev Anand's own to ^ch- 
cheKaBolBska which is due 
for release in January. All 
this makes one wonder what 
this debonair actor is upto. 

T here are good times 
ahead for Aditya Pancholi. 
The actor who was known 
only as Zarina Wahab's hus- 
band and 2 small-time video 
actor is now in for the big 
time. After a spate of succes- 
ses in the form of Shingora, 
Shahadat and Kaiank Ka 


Tika, Aditya has attracted 
the notice of leadii^ produc- 
ers. Today he has none other 
than Mandakini and Kind as 
his leading ladies. He has the 
charisma and appeal that can 
draw crowds. As one pro- 
ducer said, "he has enough 
potential to pose a threat to 
the likes of Chunky Pandey, 



Govinda and Sumeet Saigal. ” 
At the moment, critics are 
raving about his performance 
in Deepak Balraj’s Kahan Hai 
Kanoon, While Aditya is busy 
conquering the to world, 
wife Zarina is busy playing 
mother to little Sana. 


I ina Katkar is yet another 
ambitious mama bent on 
seeing her daughter suc- 
ceed, even if it means that 
Kind has to strip her way to 
the top. Tina who was once a 
junior artiste is now better 
known as Kind’s mother. 
Three years ago when Kind 
had discarded her successful 
modelling career to join 
films, Tina had announced 
that she would give her 
daughter precisely three 
years to rnake her mark in a 
new career. If she didn’t 
become a big star byjthen, 
she would see to it that Kktd 
quit the industry and settled 
down to a life of domesticity. 
Today, three years later, 
Kind is a greater star than 
she or her mother could have 
ever imagined. Kind is noW' 
in an enviable position, hav- 
ing signed more than 35 big 
films. She is compared to 
none other than the Holly- 
wood sensation, Brooke 
Shields, and is even called 
the sex sjpibol of Indian 
showbw^ss. 

■IMMV IMiJMWiy 



80 



W hen pretty Sujata 
Mehta was seen for the first 
time on the small screen, she 
was an instant hit with the 
viewers. Sujata’s portrayal of 
Pratibha, the Premchand 
bahu in Khandaan impressed 
enough people in the right 
quarters for her to get a 
break in films. Thougii she is 
a successful star today, Su- 
jata has not forgotten her 
theatre roots. Despite her 
busy schedule, she still finds 
time to act in Chitkaar, the 
Gqjarati play which first 
l^opelled her into the lime- 
light. The play is currently 
having its 345th show and is 
running to packed houses, all 
because of the talented Ms 
Mehta. 

If the wife has made her 
mark on the small screen, 
can the husband be for be- 
hind? 'I'he Naseeruddin Shah 
who had vehemently 
asserted that he would never 
be seen in tele-serials is now 
singing a different tune. He 
will make his debut on the 
small screen in Gulzar’s se- 
rial Ghalib. Naseer will be 
pfoying none other than the 
title role! Does Naseer’s 
foray into serials have any- 
thing to do with the fact that 
wife Ratna has won acco- 
lades for her performances in 
Idhar Ddharand Sfn while 
Naseer himself is signing 


^ Sujata Mahta: auccaaa la hara 

: films with titles like Hero 
I Hirah] and Zmdajala Doon^ 

1 ga? But since all good things 
I cannot proceed smoothly, 
Naseer is facing his share of 
• problems. Farih Choudhary, 

1 a Delhi-based film producer 
I alleges that he had submitted 
a script on the same subject 
to Doordarshan much before 
Gulzar had even scripted his 
project! A summons has 
been issued by the High 
Court against Gulzar and 
Doordarshan, and it remains 
to be seen if Naseeruddin 
Shah’s bid to appear on the 
small screen is successful 


T he film industry is bitter 
about what it terms ‘ex- 
aggerated exposure’ of situa- 
tions in the filmi duniyaKm- 
dan Shah, one of the three 
directors of Manoranjan 
asserts that their serial is not 
‘realistically spoofing the film 
industry, film makers or 
even the stars'. Shah goes on 
to say that even thou^Ma/) - 
orai\ in bas an undercurrent 
of bt absurd, it does not 
have innuendoes or taunts 
levelled at any particular per- 
son. All that 

the serial asks for, is that 
people sit back and laugh at 
themselves. As Kundan Shah 
says, Manoranjan is in effect 
a tragi-comedy that depicts 
the firustrations, stni^e and 
sycophancy inherent in the 
star system and of course 
the commercial ethics which 
dominates everything. It’s 
time the film industry stop- 
ped complainii^ and learnt to 
take criticism in the right 
spirit. 


Oharad Patel, the Indian- 
born Kenyan filmmaker final- 
ly managed to overcome all 
bureaucratic pressure and 
release his film Idi Amin, 
(^se and Pall) after six 
years. Meanwhile Patel has 
bought the rights of the com- 
edy serial titM Mind Your 



language which will be 
shortly telecast in India. Tlie 
.serial which lampoons the 
non-English speaking people 
of the world is bound to be 
popular with the Indian audi- 
ence. Our desi television 
authorities have already re- 
jected three different prop- 
osals to Indianise the serial 
because it would mean im- 
posing Hindi on South Indi- 
ans. Ironically, Doordarshan 
seems to forget that almost 
all the network serials are 
already in the national lan- 
guage! 

£■ k Kaba/}/ failed to sus- 
tain Manju Singh's inte.rest 
for long. Even though the 
serial was popular with tele- 
viewers. its producer was 
not content with making se- 
rials only on short stories. 
Manju has now graduated 
into making a prestigious se- 
rial on Jawaharlal Nehru. 
Making the serial will prove 



Kundan Shah: facing problama 

to be a challenge for Manju 
who will have to take care 
that she does not provoke 
bitter sentiments in the rul- 
ing party, among the Door- 
darshan bosses and other 
Nehru admirers. The serial 
wliich has a celebrity star 
cast will be based on authen- 
tic research work and details 
from various people who 
knew Nehru at close quar- 
ters. But Manju Sinji^ is 
unperturbed — she has taken 
up the challenge, and given 
her calibre, Jawaharlal Nehru 
is bound to be a success. 
P.ChailMya 




81 



BEGINNING 1 7 JANUARY 1 988 BY AMRITLAL 


SliKDAYW^Ek 


20 December) You will be 
able to execute most of 
your plans and win the 
praise of those who matter 
to you. Emotional problems that have been 
worrying you for sometime will now be 
over. Employees are likely to get promo- 
tions. Your ambition and enthusiasm will 
help you to achieve your goals. Be cautious 
while dealing with a new friend. The 
domestic front wifi remain peaceful. 

Good datos: 19 20 and 23 
Lucky numbers: 3, 6 and 9 
Favourable direction: North-east 


LEO <21 July-20 August) 

This week you will have to 
IjSMl be very careful if you want 
^ to avoid quarrels and con- 
troversies. Those who are 
employed might win the praise of their 
superiors. Most of your plans will material- 
ise. You will be in a position to clear your 
debts. In fact, whatever you do during this 
phase is likely to be successful. Take care 
of your health. Love and romance are 
indicated. 

Good dates: 18. 19 and 21 
Lucky numbers: 4, 8 and 9 
Favourable direction: North-east 


ARIES (21 Marcli-20 April) 

This is a lucky period for 
those in love. Do not in- 
dulge in speculative ven- 
tures. Save whatever you 
can now for a bleak period lies ahead of 
you. Professionals should not neglect their 
work, while businessmen should be cau- 
tious in dealing with customers. The time is 
right for accepting challenging assign- 
ments. For businessmen, the financial 
prospers are bright. 

Good dates: 17. 19 and 2 1 
Lucky numbers. 1. 3 and 4 
Favourable direction: North 

S TAURUS (21 April— 20 May) 

This week will see you 
making steady progress on 
ail fronts. You will gain 
through property transa- 
tions or insurance policies. You are advised 
to conserve your energies. Your intuition 
will prove to be fruitful, especially in affairs 
relating to the heart. The domestic front will 
remain calm A promotion is likely towards 
the end of the week. The health of some- 
one close to you will improve, leaving you 
vastly relieved. 

Good datos: 19. 21 and 23 
Lucky numbers: 3, 5 and 7 
Favourable direction: South 

GEMINI (21 May— 20 June) 

This is a favourable week 
for you. Even though you 
may not gam financially, do 
not be upset Refrain from 
acting according to your intuitions. You are 
advised to be patient with the slow but 
steady progress in your financial position. 
Do not make any hasty decision. If you are 
in love and waiting for an opportunity to 
propose, do so now. 

Good dates: 18. 20 and 22 
Lucky numbers: 2. 4 and 6 
Favourable direction: East 


VIRGO (21 Anoust— 20 
Saptombar) The stars are 
not in your favour. The 
domestic front will not re- 
main peaceful. Business- 
men are advised to refrain from taking 
risks. You may have to gear up all your 
resources to avoid financial stringency. If 
you have plans to change your job. consult 
your elders before doing so. The stars are 
favourable for marriage negotiations. You 
might have to undertake an unexpected 
journey. Take care of your health. 

Good datos: 21, 22 and 23 
Lucky numbers: 1. 5 and 6 
Favourablo direction: North-west 

UBRA (21 September— 20 
October) This is a week of 
mixed fortunes. Students 
appearing for competitive 
examinations will do well. 
Since your financial position will not be 
stable; avoid extravagance. Those in the 
government services must be extremely 
careful about their health. Consult your 
elders and well-wishers if you are plan 
ning a change In career. 

Good dates: 17. 19 and 22 
Lucky numbers: 3. 7 and 8 
Favourable direction: South-east 


CAPRICORN (21 December— 

I 20 January) A hectic week 
K ahead of you. Do not 

waste time in socialising. 
Professionals will be re- 
warded if they are sincere. There are 
chances of financial gains through unex- 
pected sources. Do not hesitate to take 
help from elders. If you have any children, 
they will be a source of joy . Lovers can go 
ahead with their matnmorial plans. Avoid 
pleasure trips. Students will do well in their 
examinations. 

Good dates: 19. 20 and 21 

Lucky numbers: 6, 7 and 6 
Favourable direction: South-west 

I 

AQUARIUS (21 January-SO 
February) This week your 
^'risi^cial prospects look 
bright. Your must avoid ail 
kinds of speculations espe- 
cially those related to business affairs. 
Lawsuits might cause you some anxiety 
and you will have to seek the advice of 
elders. There is a possibility of a new 
friendship especially with someone of the 
opposite sex. 

Good datei: 20. 22 and 23 

Lucky numbort: 4, 8 and 9 
Favourablo direction: East 





cancer (21 Juno — 20 July) SCORPIO (21 October— 20 PISCES (21 February— 20 

This wilt be a good week for Novambar) A busy week lies March) There are chances 

courtship and marriage. ahead for professionals. of financial gains from un- 

Professionals can expect There are chances of finan- expected sources. If you 

promotions. A journey to- cial gains for you. This is are unemployed and look- 

wards the end of the week will lead to the time for businessmen to make new ing for a |ob you might find one. A promotion! 
financial losses. Domestic upheavals wilt investments. A pleasant surprise lies in cannot be ruled out for those in the 

add to your problems. Try not to give way store for you at the end of the week. Your services. This is not a good week to settle 

to impulses. Beware of questionable com- spouses and children will add to your property disputes. Lovers can go ahead 

pany and avoid legal disputes. Students mental peace. Students may win scho- with their marriage plans Ail of you must 

will enjoy a successful period. Your health iarships. Romance will culminate in mar- save for (he future. Your health will bother 

will improve steadily. riage. you 

Good dates: 17. 18 and 19 Good dates: 18. 20 and 21 Good dalea: 17, 20 and 23 

Lucky numbers: 2. 3 and 4 Lucky numbers: 1. 7 and 9 Lucky numbort: 2, 6 and 8 

Favourable direction: West Favourable dlrectloo: South-west Favourable direction: West 


Star Partial: Canoer-Sagittarlus 

The Sagittarius man will win ove^ thdEv'aimer woman with his personality. He enjoys socialising and making friends. 
If she wants to win him, she rnus^, amMQupfor what he is. Although he may be a little impatient with her 
routine approach to life, he *i%j||||E6n8tderate enough to give her time to change herself. 


62 


SUNDAY l/-^3 Januaty 1968 














SPEECH 
DELIVERED BY 
Shrl K.N. Modi, 
Chairman and 
Managing Director, 
at the 16th Annual 
General Meeting of 
Modi Rubber Ltd., 
held at Modinagar 
on Wednesday the 
30th December, 
1987 


Dear Shareholders. 

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you 
to the 16th Annual General Meeting of the 
Company. 


GENERAL OUTLOOK 
The year 1987 has been a historic one for 
India, as one in which it has successfully 
tackled mcyor national and international 
issues. The untiring efforts of our Prime 
Minister have contributed a great dea' 
towards the United States of America and 
the USSR arriving at an agreement res- 


tricting their nuclear powers. The INF 
treaty between the two super powers was 
a victory of India's foreign policy enunci- 
ated by Pt. Jawahar Lai Nehru and vigor- 
ously pursued by Smt. Indira Gandhi. 

The Indo-Sri Lanka agreement will go a 
long way in ensuring political stability in the 
region. Within the country itself the govern- 
ment has withstood the shock of commun- 
al violence and other divisive forces 
attempting to weaken the social fabric of 
the country and maintained political stabil- 
ity in the nation. 

The year 1987 has evidenced an unpre- 
cedented drought that has dogged the 
entire Khariff season and its repercussions 
on the economy are becoming increasingly 
clear. 

The Government has done a commend- 
able job in tackling the situation created by 
the worst drought of the country. It speaks 
volumes of the Government's sincerity and 
single-mindedness that all essential com- 
modities are made available to the people 
in the drought affected areas all over the 
country. 

Under the dynamic leadership of our Pnme 
Minister, I am sure the country will emerge 
from the present crisis with renewed ener- 
gy, courage and the will to survive. 

The immediate task before us is to take 
measures for minimising the impact of 
weather-induced aberrations on crop pro 
duction. The goal should be to achieve a 
high rate of growth of production on a 
sustained basis so that the farm economy 
is equipped to take in its stride debacles 
such as the one we have witnessed in the 
current year. 

It is heartening to note that despite the 
severe drought conditions in the country, 
the economy continues to grow at the 
current trend rate of 5 per cent in 1986*87 
compared to 3.5 per cent growth during 6th 
Five Year Plan. The industry has shown a 
better growth rate of 7.5 per cent per year 
than the 5.5 per cent growth during the 6th 
Plan. The menacing chimera of our in- 
creasing foreign debt has grown by 200% 
in last 12 years to become 45 billion 
M\m. Since the servicing of debts from 
Ibis year upto If^ is going to be a greater 
dr:ain on the economy, it is imperative that 
theipoe ^ 
vmi on 


m 


rate of Indian eoohiomy from 
|h(S Eighth Ran period 



should be nearly 10 per cent if the buoyan- 
cy has to be maintained and poverty 
alleviated. The growth rate in the ir^dustriei 
sector should exceed 10 per cent to offset 
the growth rate in the agriculture sector 
which is dismally low at 4 to 5 per cent. 

During the last few years. Government of 
India has taken measures for liberalisation 
of the economy and de-regulation of indus- 
try. which has helped in creating an en- 
vironment conducive to investment and 
industrial growth. Various incentives for 
infrastructural development and capital In- 
vestment in backward areas have been 
provided. 

The pragmatic policies adopted by the 
Government have accelerated the indust- 
rial activities appreciably. Large production 
capacities entailing sizeable capital outlay 
got an upsurge. The demand, however, 
has not kept pace with the increased 
production. Capacity has come to outstrip 
demand, in some cases substantially. 
Consequently, there has been low capac- 
ity utilisation in many industries, making 
their performance unremunerative. 
Though problems such as power and 
labour still hamper industrial production, 
the most critical factor responsible for 
slowing industrial growth is that demand is 
not increasing as it should. Unless demand 
catches up, we will face a scenario where 
productive units become sick because of 
poor off-take. 

The situation calls for restraint on liberal 
imports and containing costs of finished 
products and industrial Inputs by reducing 
indirect taxation. 

The Government on its part has initiated 
various measures to correct the Imbalance 
and stimulate demand and I hope the 
same will yield desired results and provide 
the necessary fillip to the industry and the 
economy. 

Indian agriculture has demonstrated its 
resilience in the past and the availability of 
large foodgrain stocks will be of great help 
in holding prices in the wake of the 
drought. The foreign exchange reserve 
position has remained reasonably satisfao- 
tory and will provide useful protection in 
the deteriorating trade deficit situation. 
And, like agriculture. Indian industry Is 
capable of bouncing back given the wide 
spectrum of its tedmological and other 
capabilities. 



-HIGHLIGHTS- 

A dividend of 26% is proposed to be paid by your Com- 
pany on Equity shares. 

Due to the unprecedented drought our immediate task 
should be to achieve a high rate of growth of production on 
a sustained basis. It is my earnest appeal to the Business 
Community that all efforts should be made to hold the price 
line of all essential commodities. 

The Industry has shown a better growth rate of 7.5% per 
year. 

The number of sick units have gone up. Those that can be 
made viable should be given all help and efforts should be 
made to avoid the units becoming sick. 

Because of constant RAO efforts our tyres are competing in 
the international markets. 

We commit ourselves to the development of area around 
our Centre of operation, with a renewed zeal. 


THE HUMAN FACTOR 

The Management is entrusted with the 
funds of the shareholders and in order to 
make the optimum use, it must be given 
the right to ''manage*', in this competitive 
world, an enterprise can only survive if it 
makes me most etnciem use of the scarce 
resources at its command. It must, there- 
fore, use the most modem, cost effective 
technology that allows economy of scale. 
This may mean that in some areas, labour 
may be rendered surplus. However, tech- 
nology upgradation has a multiplier effect 
in creating many more jobs in associated 
fields. The excess manpower will have to 
be redeployed after suitable retraining and 
it is expected that both me State and the 
Trade unions will support such restructur- 
ing and rationalisation of manpower. 

INDUSTRIAL SICKNESS 

Growing sickness in all the sectors of 
Indian industry, public, private, large, 
medium and small, has become a factor of 
major concern. According to the RBI, the 
number of sick units all over the country 
has gone upto 1 ,30,000 blocking Rs 4,600 
crore^ of bank funds, consisting 17 per 
cent of the total industrial credit. 

Technological obsolescence, demand 
constraint, poor cash flow, managerial 
shortcomings etc. are amongst the several 
factors, but the single most important 
factor responsible for growing sickness is 
excessive manpower and a low productiv- 
ity contributing to high cost. Indian pro- 
ducts are being priced out in me world 
market. Within India, the cost is rising 
beyond the buying capacity of the Indian 
consumer. 

In nursing such units by funding their 
losses, a large amount of public funds are 
blocked which otherwise could have been 
invested in new opportunities for growth 
and much larger employment. 

A bold decision is called for (i) in case of 
those units which can recover and be 
made viable, it is necessary to evolve fast 
track agencies so that all help and conces- 
sions are extended most expeditiously, (ii) 
in the case of those which are not viable, 
mey should be allowed to close down; the 
labour thus made available can be re- 
trained and redeployed in more productive 
avenues. Adequate compensation may be 
considered to attract more people into self 
employment. 

The need for reducing excessive manpow- 
er and raising productivity is at the centre 
of me problem. A solution is possible with 
determined efforts and dose coordination 
between the Business, me Government 
and me Workers. The problem is too